Microsoft is helping to make AI work better in Africa


Africa must address differences in connectivity, data, and skills in order to fully leverage the potential of artificial intelligence.

Africa is well-positioned to make use of artificial intelligence (AI) as a tool for economic growth and social progress in a world where AI is quickly becoming a game-changer. When asked about the possibilities and threats that Africa faces in its pursuit of artificial intelligence (AI), Microsoft Africa President Lillian Barnard offered her thoughts.

The most recent predictions from IDC indicate that worldwide spending on artificial intelligence (including software, hardware, and services focused on AI) will more than double from 2023 to 2026. Artificial intelligence investment is projected to skyrocket from $154 billion in 2023 to more than $300 billion by 2026, thanks to this rise. In this context, Lillian Barnard is optimistic about the ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) might encourage Africa to adopt cutting-edge technology.

There are more than 2,400 artificial intelligence (AI) companies in Africa today, representing a wide range of sectors and with the potential to transform many parts of people’s lives. Reality, nevertheless, is something that Ms. Barnard does recognize. The 2022 AI Readiness Index shows that Sub-Saharan Africa is not ready for AI just yet.

Problems with unreliable connections, widespread inequalities, and a lack of organized datasets are at the heart of Africa’s AI preparedness. In order to overcome these obstacles and get Africa ready for the acceleration and adoption of AI, it is necessary to build governance frameworks, construct infrastructure, and cultivate essential skills. All parties involved must adhere to these basic principles for AI to be really beneficial.

However, compared to the Northern Hemisphere, Africa suffers from a chronic shortage of data scientists and inadequate datasets. In order to facilitate the broad creation, usage, and gain from AI advancements, Ms. Barnard stresses the significance of democratized learning in AI.

Ms. Barnard stresses the importance of ethical AI in the midst of AI excitement. Accountability, privacy, security, inclusivity, and openness are the pillars around which this method builds AI. Africa has to be careful with AI technology so that it can be trusted and used responsibly.

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