Artificial intelligence has been called the new electricity by Andrew Ng the co-founder of Coursera and the founder of Landing AI and Deeplearning.AI.
Research by scientists at Oxford University showed that AI will exceed human capabilities at conducting surgeries by 2054, at selling online goods by 2031, and writing school essays by 2026. Companies are rushing to get ahead of the curve to maximize potential benefits promised by this new technology. 18% of all patent applications received by IBM were AI related.
What is Artificial Intelligence
A simple definition of Artificial intelligence is computer systems designed to do tasks that require human intelligence such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and engaging conversation.
If we look at the world around us we are already living in the age of artificial intelligence. When one speaks to google assistant that is already speech recognition. When YouTube recommends a video to you that is a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning being used.
Another way artificial intelligence is being used is when financial institutions create a credit score for you based on your previous transaction and decide what loan to give you. As you can see the foundation of artificial intelligence is statistics, probability, linear algebra and calculus among other branches of mathematics and computer science.
In Africa, a company called Fastagger is working on building the foundation of artificial intelligence and bringing the fruits to solve challenges in African countries from finance to agriculture.
AI in Kenya
The Government of Kenya, in February 2018, created a Blockchain and AI taskforce to look into this new technology and ways to harness its value. The benefits of AI are expected to be seen in areas like the subsets of the Big 4 Agenda, election processes, cybersecurity, financial inclusion and single digital identity.
Companies such as Damu Sasa are using AI to track a patient’s blood transfusion. Based on this data, the system can recommend to physicians and laboratory technicians the alternative blood products. Safaricom is using AI in its Fuliza product to determine how much to lend to a credit applicant.
It is important to think about how artificial intelligence will impact our lives as with increased advancement this will mean a lot of repetitive tasks for humans so will be replaced by AI that is more efficient and effective. Such jobs such as data entry, factory work are slowly being replaced by software and robotic arms.
Artificial intelligence will enable us to do our work more effectively. Today you can use AI to write good essays and emails. AI should be thought of as an Autopilot that can help humans concentrate on more creative tasks or a co-pilot that can help us be more efficient at tasks.
Let us embrace the future. Think of the farmer who will get better yields after following the instructions of the AI that has factored in weather, soil types, pests and market prices.
We are really at the dawn of humanity’s greatest invention.
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