February 28, 2024

Why Africa must develop home grown AI solutions

 By Emmanuel Elebeke, edited by Prince Osuagwu

Africa is in dire need of positive narratives to counter the very negative ones the western world has woven around the continent.

However, to do that successfully will  need a platform with global reach even though it will be locally driven.

Incidentally, a UK trained Artificial Intelligence expert, Dr. Chinemelu Ezeh says though it looks a tall order, the era of Artificial Intelligence, AI has made almost everything possible.

 Home grown AI

And, in his own view, developing a home grown AI solution will be a sure way for Africa to tell its own story and have the world read it without bias.

 Countering negative narratives

He believes that not only that AI is capable of countering the agelong negative narratives, it will also fast track and advance the continent’s development.

In a chat with Hi-Tech recently,  Ezeh gave the example of the erroneous narrative that Africa is only a consumer continent in terms of technology, saying a home grown AI solution will correct the impression.

For him, “in the emerging world of AI, everyone is at a level playing field. So, Africa can now tell its own story, even in its own language”.

 AI modules

He added that “there are lots of modules out there for anyone, anywhere to leverage AI, as long as he or she has access to the internet. In Nigeria, we have a fair distribution of talented people, but the challenge is to identify the local talents in AI, because ‘AI requires people who are very good at mathematics.

 “There are people who got 2.1 in Nigerian universities and when they go out there they get first class. They get first class not in theory but in building the things that you always want to see’’.

 Future of AI

‘‘We’re not sure what the future is going to be. But AI is going to change nature of competition around the world and is going to change the nature of work, fundamentally.

 Approaching AI

‘’the best way to approach AI is to maintain a critical mindset. AI is just a tool, but if you pay attention, you’ll see where the opportunities are.

It is big and is going to hit everyone. AI is the new electricity, it’s as big as that, it is very good and fundamental.

 Creating jobs

‘‘With AI, you do not need much infrastructure or lots of hardware infrastructure but only internet and light.  And then you can do a lot of things just with your own capabilities.

 ‘‘There’s another part of AI that is called prompt engineering which is already there, all of these existing systems. In fact, if you are good at English language it places you at better position than software engineering, you are in a better position to get some of these jobs. Another one is data gathering. That is another source of employment”.

 AI in schools

The knowledge transfer to schools is already happening.

Some locals are doing small businesses on AI already.

‘‘Thing are happening on a small scale. We can make it bigger and I have people who have the blueprint. I am lucky to be trained in advanced mathematics and I am going to have more discussions with universities going forward.

Ezeh contended that AI adoption is capable of making a difference in the both security and health sectors if deployed in a more effective and faster rate. Unlike the conventional systems, AI comes with real time and rapid response system.