From Rusana Philander in Cape Town.
African attendants to a recent Artificial Intelligence Expo held in Cape Town expressed agreement artificial intelligence was set to impact Africa positively, and that this was already evident.
The artificial intelligence technological branch attractiveness on the continent is already attracting investors, according to Jumanne Rajabu CEO of Sahara Ventures in Tanzania. A lot of investors are looking to invest in artificial intelligence in Africa.
Interest is evident from corporate companies to start-ups, he said. The mobile phone company Vodacom is working with start-ups in most east and southern African countries this area.
Artificial intelligence is seen as potentially useful in solving a number of grassroots problems, Rajabu said. The Tanzanian spoke about the fourth Industrial Revolution and investing.
Stefan Steffen from Telkom South Africa talked about Telkom’s turnaround, adding that the corporation had set its eyes on artificial intelligence for deliverables perceived possible through the new tech branch.
Steffen said their ‘Free Me’ data bundles have been very successful: “Data consumption has radically changed. Streaming is driving a different economy and through this we delivered a lot of revenue. We have moved from robotics to artificial intelligence. Telkom has also invested R8 billion in optic fibre,” Steffen said.
Andrew Quixley from IBM talked about natural language generation and the next giant leap for artificial intelligence. He also discussed robots, alleging that robots had proved themselves better at debating things which needed immediate answers.
IBM’s Project Debater (a robot) had a contest against a human debate champion, Harish Natarajan, in February 2019, the official said. It turned out a machine can debate an idea better. This is the next giant leap. IBM will be commercializing some parts of the technology.
The US Wall Street Journal has reported in the meantime that China is already using artificial intelligence in primary schools for tasks like observing children’s attentiveness in class, children’s health and also surveillance of citizens in streets.
However, machines are not so far able to beat the human mind in the area of learning new skills.