Artificial intelligence (AI) presents numerous avenues for both the public and private sectors in Africa to optimize solutions to crucial problems facing the continent. However, not everyone is ready to welcome artificial intelligence with open arms due to a number of challenges that undermine the adoption of artificial intelligence and implementation in Africa.
According to Kilian Weinberger, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Cornell University told Live Science that, negative feelings about AI could generally be divided into two categories; the idea that AI will become conscious and seek to destroy us, and the notion that immoral people will use artificial intelligence for evil purposes.
Lack of relevant technical skills among the youths is a growing threat. Without proper education and skilled training, the potential of digital technology can never be fully tapped. Therefore, digital literacy is paramount in enabling youths and the greater majority to use the internet and foster a deep integration of digital technologies into business and public services. The skill gap means that the youth who would have otherwise been at the forefront of building AI and accelerating its adoption are left behind, hence preventing the continent from harnessing the full potential of transformative technologies and industrialization.
Inadequate basic and digital infrastructure also erodes efforts to activate AI powered solutions as it reduces crucial connectivity that promotes social and economic inclusiveness, efficiency and innovation. This inadequate digital infrastructure includes the lack of access to network connections, to devices, soft wares and applications.
Lack of adequate investment in research and development deters the adoption of artificial intelligence in Africa. African countries need to develop innovative financial instruments and public-private partnerships to fund human capital development and artificial intelligence products transition from the lab to the market.
AI robots are capable of working 24hours 7days a week continuously with accurate decision making and without fatigue, this projects a very high probability of AI rendering masses jobless and this deters its development on the moral high grounds of leaving workers with no way to fend for themselves.
When people put aside their fears and doubts about AI, they will be more open to recognize its benefits which includes; enhanced digital assistance and customer experience by use of chat-bots, machine learning focuses on the use of data and algorithms to imitate the way that humans learn gradually improving its accuracy hence is an important component of the growing field of data science i.e. apple’s Siri and Google’s “OKAY GOOGLE” which comprehends human speech, AI minimizes human error in data entry and processing jobs etcetera
In conclusion, the notion of intelligent automata in Africa is still in its infancy stage and with proper digital education and skilled trainings coupled up with innovative financial instruments, private and public sectors embracing AI then maybe, just maybe, AI might have a future in the continent Africa.