Thursday, 18 April 2019

Microsoft Launches AI for Africa Whitepaper in Kenya

Microsoft has launched the white paper for its Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa program in Kenya. The company introduced its AI for Good series to discuss several issues surrounding AI, such as the government coming up with a suitable regulatory framework, and the development of IT infrastructure from the various stakeholders.

AI brings with it the potential for better streamlined processes in several sectors, among them agriculture, financial services, healthcare and public services.

Microsoft launched the series in partnership with Strathmore University and Access partnership, with the main aim of boosting awareness about the potential benefits Kenya would gain from the use of AI.

“We are thrilled to be working with Strathmore and Access partnership to create awareness in Kenya, showcasing Microsoft’s role as an ally for stakeholders  within the Kenya corporate sphere and ensuring citizens can benefit from the full potential that AI technologies bring with it,” Ahmed El Sawwi, Government affairs manager, Microsoft Middle East, and Africa.”

Strathmore’s Director for Intellectual property and information technology law, Dr Isaac Rutenberg, expressed the University commitment to champion AI technologies saying, “Strathmore has always aimed to be at the forefront of issues that impact the country at large. Digital transformation and AI are topics that need to be unpacked in a favorable space, bringing stakeholders, government officials, policymakers together for knowledge sharing.”

Any discussion of AI, the issue of its ethical use always comes up; there is always the looming possibility that AI technology can be misused. In the whitepaper, Microsoft addresses this very issue. Microsoft says, that the development of AI “must ensure  that the industry brings to our societies and our economies the most significant benefits possible while safeguarding privacy rights.”

During the launch event Mr. Sawwi addressed the fear that AI technologies eradicate the need for humans working various jobs; he said that AI technologies being used would complement existing jobs, as well as create new jobs which require different skills set.

The AI whitepaper continued to say, “Over time,technology has proven to be a great job creating machine, many jobs will continue to require uniquely human skills that AI and machines cannot replicate, such as creativity, collaboration, abstract, and systems thinking, complex communication and the ability to work in diverse environments.”

The whitepaper, suggests that the main areas developers should pour their focus on are; data privacy and security, cyber security, digital strategy, and cloud adoption initiatives, intellectual property, procurement policies and international harmonization of rules.

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