INTERVIEW: AI skilled warns of digital colonization in Africa

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Certainly one of 38 individuals members of the brand new UN advisory physique on machine studying, Mr. Ndiaye spoke with UN Information concerning the panorama forward, constructing on his expertise in serving to to drive Senegal’s digital transformation in increased training, serving as an skilled to the African Union in drafting the Pan-African Technique on AI and in contributing to the International Partnership on Synthetic Intelligence (GPAI).

Senegalese AI expert Seydina NDiaye is one of the 38 experts of the UN High-Level Advisory Body on Artificial Intelligence.

© Courtesy of Seydina Ndiaye

Senegalese AI skilled Seydina NDiaye is likely one of the 38 specialists of the UN Excessive-Degree Advisory Physique on Synthetic Intelligence.

UN Information: How might AI assist Africa?

Seydina Moussa Ndiaye: There are a number of African international locations which might be starting to have a devoted technique for synthetic intelligence. Nevertheless, there’s a pan-African technique that can quickly be printed, with a continental imaginative and prescient of AI improvement.

Increasingly, younger individuals launching startups have an interest on this, they usually have an actual thirst for information within the discipline of AI. This rising curiosity may be accelerated with worldwide assist.

Nevertheless, there’s a wall in some areas, and AI can in actual fact be used to unravel sure issues, together with in agriculture. Within the well being sector, AI might in actual fact clear up a variety of issues, particularly the issue of an absence of personnel.

The opposite component that can be essential is the event of cultural identification. Africa has been seen as a continent with a cultural identification that has not been capable of impose itself the world over. With the event of AI, we might use this channel in order that African cultural identities are higher recognized and higher valued.

Bernice Kula-Kula, a refugee from DR Congo, studies computer engineering, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence on a UNICORE scholarship, thanks to Italy with UN-support.

Bernice Kula-Kula, a refugee from DR Congo, research laptop engineering, cybersecurity and synthetic intelligence on a UNICORE scholarship, due to Italy with UN-support.

UN Information: Are there dangerous sides of AI threatening Africa?

Seydina Moussa Ndiaye: The most important menace for me is colonization. We could find yourself with giant multinationals in AI that can impose their options all through the continent, leaving no room for creating native options.

Many of the knowledge presently generated in Africa is owned by multinationals whose infrastructure is developed outdoors the continent, the place most African AI specialists additionally function. It’s a lack of African expertise.

The opposite essential component to think about is within the context of the fourth industrial revolution. The facility of AI mixed with advances in biotechnology or know-how may very well be used, and Africa may very well be the place the place all these new options are literally being examined.

If it’s not supervised, we might find yourself with checks that may happen on people with chips and even built-in biotechnology components that we enhance. These are applied sciences that we don’t actually grasp nicely. In regulatory phrases, there are specific facets that haven’t been thought of. The very framework for the applying of concepts and current laws just isn’t efficient.

In concrete phrases, and whenever you don’t management this stuff, it might occur with out anybody understanding. We might have Africa getting used as a Guinea pig to check new options, and this may very well be a terrific, nice menace for the continent.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed interacts with Sophia the robot at the “The Future of Everything – Sustainable Development in the Age of Rapid Technological Change” meeting.

© United Nations/Kensuke Matsue

UN Deputy Secretary-Normal Amina Mohammed interacts with Sophia the robotic on the “The Way forward for Every little thing – Sustainable Improvement within the Age of Speedy Technological Change” assembly.

UN Information: Do you suppose that the UN’s new AI advisory group goes to be a platform that can mean you can put these issues on the desk?

Seydina Moussa Ndiaye: Sure, completely. We’ve began our work, and it’s actually very open. These are high-level individuals who perceive worldwide points nicely, and there are not any taboo topics.

It’s essential that the voice of Africa is represented within the group. Worldwide scientific cooperation can be strengthened and never restricted to the key powers. On the worldwide degree, it consists of everybody and in addition helps the least developed international locations.

At present, there’s a actual hole, and if this isn’t resolved, we danger growing inequalities.


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