Generally, the artificial intelligence wave is soon to sweep Africa and expect a subtle tsunami. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as Artificial Intelligence in Africa is key to solving the continent’s problems in the future. Especially in fostering accelerated development to match the first world. In retrospect, there is no industry that artificial intelligence will not disrupt or improve. In fact, the most urgent and traumatic problems in Africa might reduce with artificial intelligence and data science.
A New Era for Artificial Intelligence in Africa
As a matter of fact, Artificial Intelligence in Africa and applications to solve such problems is already evident. For instance, Nyalleng Moorosi, a software engineer in Accra,Ghana is currently making leeway with deep learning with various unique applications. She’s been one of the strongest advocates for data collection and mining to solve African problems. Similarly, Dr. Cosmas Mwikirize, a Biomedical Scientist who is applying A.I in healthcare and ultrasound models. True industry leaders.
Academicians leading the way
Furthermore, prior to the founding of A.I Lab in Ghana, Google was improving its work with farmers in rural Tanzania. This was with the initial purpose of understanding some of the issues they were facing in maintaining steady food production. Similarly, Dr. Joyce Nakatumba-Nabende recently won a Gates Foundation grant to apply A.I in agriculture. Similarly, in 2016, the Johannesburg team at IBM Research noted that the process of reporting cancer data to the government (which informed national health policies) took four years in hospitals. Ironically, in the US, the corresponding data collection and analysis takes only two years. Clearly a bright start for Artificial Intelligence in Africa.
Fostering development with artificial intelligence in Africa
Furthermore, A.I has the potential to foster the development of portable sensors and machine learning technologies. Mainly for the purpose of monitoring the activity of dairy cows. Such technologies may possibly enable farmers keep track of their herds at all times on their smartphones. Additionally, machine learning may later support humanitarian efforts in natural disasters or conflict regions in Africa. Possibly by assisting human analysts in interpreting satellite and drone remote sensing images to better coordinate interventions.
Medical Possibilities with Artificial Intelligence in Africa
For the case of healthcare, the disparities created by distance and shortage of specialists can be mitigated with Artificial Intelligence in Africa. Artificial intelligence can provide decision support and empower physicians and leverage their growing mobile phone ownership to collect data. Furthermore, improve administrative efficiency, ease radiology burdens and expand treatment coverage. While the above-mentioned positive applications are aimed at closing medical development gaps, the ability of A.I to increase skills and resource deficits may also be exploited.
Political applications of Artificial Intelligence in Africa
Politically, Artificial Intelligence in Africa can help African governments in various ways. For instance, with data mining and predictive analysis, civilian data could be used to highlight existing ethnic and religious divisions and attacks on emerging democratic institutions. Not forgetting applications of natural language processing in mining local government data for policy management and facial recognition for improvement of national security.
Asian leading the way
For example, the Japanese government is currently testing artificial intelligence to help officials draft responses submitted to parliament. Based on the test results, Tokyo plans to expand the use of AI in other branches of government. Furthermore, the ever-present Chinese have begun to export their technology to developing countries around the world. This is no surprise as China is on an ambitious plan to become a world leader in AI. Unsubstantiated rumors suggest Beijing has begun using developing countries as laboratories to improve its surveillance technologies.
Latin America not far behind
Latin America could be an example Africa could learn from. For instance, an interactive tool developed by the Argentine government in collaboration with Microsoft Latin America allows citizens to report and track problems from inadequate road infrastructure to poor urban sanitation. With this tool, the municipalities listen to inquiries and complaints of citizens. Generally, such data is leveraged and evaluated by the appropriate service departments for policy change and governance.
Progress with Artificial Intelligence in Africa
Artificial intelligence in Africa can enable progressive governments take action with predictive analysis on trained models and intelligently suggests solutions to an impending crisis. For instance, the prediction of imminent famine on the basis of historical data and the course of climate change. A.I can recommend alternative cropping methods or alternative sourcing methods adapted to a changing climate. With declines in GDPs of some African nations that can no longer sustain the population, A.I can go a long way.
In conclusion, Artificial Intelligence in Africa has the potential to contribute to the average annual productivity growth of the continent. Case in point, in Uganda, school curriculums are still more focused on memorizing than on the creative and analytical skills of young minds. That said, African state universities should consider providing more STEM systems. Additionally, provide information and communication scholarships to promote domestic research and application for A.I. This could set the foundation for Africans to assert themselves in the future AI-driven labor market to come.
A Professional Computer Engineer, technical writer and Software Product Manager, Denis is very passionate about helping businesses create software products and succeed with technology. Denis spends his free time playing the guitar and writing music. Denis passionately believes in sharing any information to help enterprises grow.