Did you, like me, use to think Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a trivial sci- fi concept? Are you now hearing it being mentioned by serious people and you aren’t entirely sure what it is? Well we are in the same position but I hope can give you a very layman’s guide to why it is so significant for the African continent and how Africa can reap the benefits.
Firstly, AI is a very broad topic as it ranges from mobile phones through to self-driving and connected cars and beyond to something we haven’t even imagined yet that could dramatical change the lives of Africans. We use AI every day in our lives without even realising that its AI.
Stop thinking its robotics, its not. A robot is a vessel for AI but the AI is the computer inside. Think of it as AI being the brain and the robot being its body (if it even has a body!). For example, the software and data behind Siri or Bixby is AI, and the female voice is the personification of AI.
For many countries the prospects of AI are thrilling, however in Africa the emergence of AI should carry with it a keen anticipation of new technology and innovations. Africa need not act with trepidation as, across the continent from Algeria to Zimbabwe, this technology has the potential to bring with it innumerable positive changes. There are especially exciting opportunities for AI in industries such as healthcare and financial services where it will bridge the gap between physical infrastructure shortfalls and consumer demands.
Meticulous planning of AI can leverage it as a tool to build the different African countries economies. Economic development can hinge on worker productivity and AI is well positioned to transform that. In countries such as Kenya and Nigeria where ideas are plentiful, process automation and digitization can enable businesses to run on leaner models and thus improve efficiencies. Rather than rationalizing the number of employees, machines can equip them to take on more complex responsibilities.
AI could elevate Nigeria’s doctor to patient ratio by offering digital healthcare services accessible by everyone with a mobile phone irrespective of internet connection. By combining the ever-growing power of AI with the best medical expertise of humans, AI can deliver unparalleled access to healthcare, including personalized health assessments, treatment advice and face-to-face appointments with a doctor 24/7 even if you were thousands of miles away from the nearest village!
AI can help with business finance safekeeping as AI can look at huge sets of data, discover discrepancies and predict when financial issues will arise so that the company improves their risk profiles in the African interconnected world. Many banks are already using AI to transform their approach to fighting financial cyber-crime as well as accessing the unbanked.
AI even has the potential to improve health and safety. It can safe-guard workers by offering solutions which can go into dangerous spaces in nuclear and mining plants and even perform such tasks as operating drills as well as capturing data at the same time.
Due to Tech Professionals & Leaders being in high demand globally, I am delighted to have just joined the Executives in Africa team of 30 Search experts to offer our clients an unrivaled ability to win in the war for tech talent in Africa. The team here has already had a positive impact on Africa through placing high calibre business leaders including Chief Digitization and Regional Technology Leadership roles.
These leaders have built businesses that have delivered goods and services previously unavailable on the continent as well as providing employment for thousands. A great example of this is that Executives in Africa placed the Director of Operations for Andela in Nigeria who has now grown their business from under 100 to nearly 500, he has been promoted through Country Director to VP Operations for the whole of Africa and has taken the Nigeria business to be No 1 place to work in Lagos in the Jobberman awards earlier in 2018.
We regularly travel to our Clients’ premises to discuss their requirements and develop the Search strategy face-to-face, but, as you would expect, we also embrace modern technology to assist our Search Process. We can arrange meetings by Skype Video and other web based options if you prefer.
Please contact me, Nicki Halle, at firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a Skype meeting to discuss how we can support the growth of your business in Africa. I would welcome to hear your thoughts on the subject of AI and the potential impact of digitization in Africa.