Artificial Intelligence and Google’s Newest Centre
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are becoming part of our everyday lives, impacting not only every segment of the economy, but also the way we take pictures and communicate with each other through our smartphones. These two terms may be trending on the internet and in the news, but do you know the difference between AI and ML?
AI is associated with machines that perform tasks in an "intelligent" way. Basically, they contextually adapt their behavior to provide the best experience to their end-users. The entertainment industry is one that heavily applies AI. For example, Netflix proposes you new shows to watch based on your history and online casinos offer roulette
games based on the customer's purchasing habits. The healthcare industry is also applying more and more AI. A robot can process images such as X-rays and CT scans much faster than a human, allowing more patients to be treated.
Machine Learning is a sub-domain of AI. More precisely, it is a technique, amongst others, to make machines "intelligent". ML relies on different algorithms that can process data and learn on their own without constant supervision. Based on the data a user leaves by surfing on the internet, interacting with websites or with their phones' applications, these algorithms will learn his or her preferences and tastes.
AI As An Aid For Africa
Source: NanaGyabeng gh
For any economy, mastering AI and ML is key to supporting its development and being prepared for future challenges. This is even truer for the African continent which missed the last industrial revolution and the great developments of the 20th century. It still has a chance at riding the digital revolution and finally getting its shares of the global growth.
The last few years have seen tech hubs
emerging in Africa in major capitals such as Nairobi (Kenya), Cape Town (South Africa), Lagos (Nigeria), or more recently Kigali (Rwanda). These hubs have already aided in some large-scale success stories with international impact. A good example is M-Pesa, a pioneering payment platform from Kenya that reached Europe in 2015, expanding particularly in Romania and Albania.
To enhance collaborations between digital professionals in Africa, major research and industrial conferences started to emerge especially around AI. Data Science Africa began in 2015 and has been held in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, and this year in Ethiopia. Deep Learning Indaba was created in 2017 with the first two years being held in South Africa and this year’s event to be in Nairobi, Kenya.
Google Joins In
Source: Austin McKinley
Another important milestone in Africa’s developing computer science industry was the announcement last June of the opening of an Artificial Intelligence research centre in Accra (Ghana) by Google. The centre officially opened its doors mid-April. In doing so, Accra joined cities such as Paris, New York, Tokyo, and Mountain View which already have established Google centres dedicated 100% to AI research.
The Silicon Valley giant aims at developing the local workforce through some collaborations with local university researchers and its digital skills training program that could benefit millions of Africans. By choosing Ghana, one of the most stable countries in Africa, and supporting the emergence of a start-up and entrepreneurial ecosystem, Google clearly wants to strengthen and secure its position as the major technology company in the future by targeting the youngest continent in the world. And they certainly have a large AI-interested population ready to learn and work hard to fix their countries’ problems.