AFRICA AND AI: WHAT IS OUR STANCE AS A CONTINENT?

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Muhammed Lamin Ceesay

By: Muhammed Lamin Ceesay

Often times, the African continent is almost always the last to take action on thriving technologies. This makes Africa reactive instead of proactive in its legislation and policies to address trending issues. AI is the act of training machines through data learning and processing in order to do human like actions. This includes solving problems, playing chess, driving cars, facial/speech
recognition and many more.

Artificial intelligence, in clear terms, isn’t an emerging technology. Because it has been developed and discussed way back in the 1950s. From Alan Turing’s published work on “Computer Machinery and Intelligence”, John McCarthy workshop in Dartmouth, formation of the Association for Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI), Windows releasing speech recognition software to major companies (Twitter, Facebook, Netflix) using AI for advertisement and user experience algorithms — are evidence of the long efforts made by the humankind to usage of artificial intelligence in its activities.

As a result, the market value of artificial intelligence continues booming and it’s expected to reach a value of USD 190 billion by 2025. It is therefore going to be greatly utilized by companies for value addition and better customer service delivery. For that reason, the USA, China and countries in Europe through the European Council has put in place regulations to govern the supply, development and use of artificial intelligence within their communities.

Africa must therefore start having policy discussions on artificial intelligence for its responsible use. Because without legislation or policies, artificial intelligence might pose great risks to our health, privacy, intellectual property rights and national security. We must as a country not imitate but tailor our laws to suit our own needs and interests. With that in mind, Artificial intelligence will be a gateway for more opportunities and development for our able talented populations.

Let’s start now!

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