Home Business Insight & Analysis Africa Must Seize the Opportunities in Artificial Intelligence and Edge Computing
Insight & Analysis - April 9, 2021

Africa Must Seize the Opportunities in Artificial Intelligence and Edge Computing

Ever since the creation of the first artificial intelligence (AI) program in 1955, the tech world has continued to explore the vast possibilities of this technology. The idea of machines having thought processes like humans and being able to find creative ways of handling complex tasks might sound like something for sci-fi movies, but interestingly, AI is becoming a reality with the passing of each day. It continues to develop in leaps and bounds, providing amazing real-world solutions. 

Some everyday examples of AI are ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft which use machine learning, a form of AI to determine the cost of your ride,  minimise waiting time and match you with other passengers going your route. Airlines use AI to autopilot planes;  your email spam filter uses AI to filter spam messages based on what you consider spam. This way Gmail is able to filter 99.9% of spam mails. Plagiarism checkers, paraphrasers, face detection and contextualisation of emojis on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are demonstrations of some of the amazing things AI can do in the real world.

It’s increasingly becoming evident that the future will be largely shaped by AI. However, concerns remain about the negative impact this technology will have on the human race. There have been talks about AI causing job loss, privacy infringements and even autonomous weapons that could fail and go off on their own.

There’s actually a lot at play with AI technology and Africa is gradually getting on board with the trend, both for business and everyday life. To understand the opportunities and risks associated with the use of near sentient computers on the continent, we’ll need to trail the entrance of the technology into Africa and how far tech minds on the continent have been able to explore this technology.

The Coming of AI to Africa

In April 2009, global tech giant Google launched its first AI research centre in Accra, Ghana. The AI laboratory is focused on developing solutions in healthcare, agriculture and education.

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