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Africa urgently needs AI roadmap

By , ITWeb
Egypt , 02 Jan 2020

Africa urgently needs AI roadmap

There is a need for well-defined policy guidelines and framework for the use of AI systems across Africa in order to protect citizen data.

During a session on artificial intelligence and humans at the World Youth Forum in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Igube Veronica Pana, the Associate Counsel at Technology Advisors ICT Lawyers – Consultants, and also an African Presidential Leadership Program graduate, said nations must be proactive.

"The African continent should also look for a way to ensure that we start developing those guidelines to ensure that we have transparency, fairness and that we protect our citizens' data, to ensure that there is cybersecurity. If we don't have AI guidelines, there is a tendency for misuse, and also for discrimination and bias. This is not to restrict AI, but rather to ensure fairness," said Pana.

She advised that nations should consider the EU guidelines, released in early 2019, for trustworthy AI and that this would ensure AI algorithms are fair.

Speaking in Kenya in September 2019 during the UNESCO AI and Fairness Workshop at the Deep Learning Indaba 2019 at Kenyatta University, Teki Akuetteh Falconer, Lawyer and Executive Director of Africa Digital Rights' Hub insisted that waiting for the law to catch up with technology has proved to be ineffective due to the rapid pace of change in technology.

Stephen Ibaraki, Chairman and Founding Managing General Partner at REDDS Capital said advanced AI systems being introduced encourage transparency, however total transparency requires the development of legislation or regulation.

"There are over 84 policies and frameworks right now around the ethical guidelines, bias and transparency, principles that people should follow; and they are now moving to operationalisation," Ibaraki added.

Martin Wezoski, the Chief Designer at Saps Innovation Centre Network, added, "We use robots on everyday tasks and are a little bit enhanced human today in decision making and all sorts of intelligence because we have machines around us."

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