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3 ways Africa will benefit from Artificial intelligence

January 6, 2021 By Chukky Derrick

With regards to artificial intelligence the rise of automation and robotics sweeping the globe can be likened to a wildfire. Almost everything is getting integrated with robotics. The most proficient, the manufacturing industry. Take retail giant Amazon for example. Amazon is known to provide hundreds of jobs mainly to supply the needs of its warehouses. The company is now one of the largest businesses that utilizes robots in its warehouses.

In 2012, Amazon purchased a robotics company called Kiva systems for $775 million USD. These robots do tasks like shelving and aspects of manned labor. Today on a grand scale, it’s estimated that the retail giant has a total of over 200,000 robots working alongside humans in its warehouses and factories. The wealthiest company in the world breaking into this aspect of technology sends a message to similar countries across the world that are also into general work flow. Countries big on manufacturing such as China ($4trn world total) and Germany ($806 Billion world total) and also Africa. The manufacturing sector has been a major attraction of investors world wide. The industry, fuelled by entrepreneurs and business conglomerates like Dangote, Shoprite and WoolsWorth have contributed to the steady rise in GDP across the continent capped at $2.6 trn (2019) and at a rate of 3.7%. The country with the highest GDP in Africa is Nigeria, which amounted to a total of $410 billion USD in the year 2019.

Artificial intelligence in Africa

It’s quite important to note that the robotic revolution which is catching on quite slowly in the continent but mainly at the start-up level. Take for instance popular drone company Zipline began a medical delivery campaign fueled by drones to tackle coronavirus in eastern Africa and also an African Entrepreneur named Temie Giwa-Tubosun from Nigeria in Kigali, Rwanda launched a drone delivery Startup that delivers blood for women with post-partum haemorrhage (women bleeding after childbirth). The company is called Lifebank. There’s also talks to break into drone delivery to support fast and efficient delivery across towns and cities prior to traditional on foot delivery.

Artificial intelligence
Temie Giwa-Tubosun | Source : The Flip Africa

Artificial intelligence which is still low-key on the continent, limited to research and study mainly could be very beneficial if integrated into industries. Also, the popular talks of the ‘future of work’ in Africa prior to remote working could also see a rise in robots and automation in the nearest future.

An expansion in the field would greatly attract investors from all over the world mainly into the robotics field. This would improve and increase GDP of countries across the continent.

Artificial Intelligence will increase efficiency in African businesses

Across the continent some industries that basically runs on manual labor and particularly car manufacturing industries are already breaking into automation. One reason is efficiency. Manned traditional labour is normally subjected to marginal errors, robots and automation brings to the table high efficiency and reduced error. This would ensure the production of quality goods and services and also bolster the input/yield factor. It was earlier predicted by McKinsey that robots and automation will take off at least 13% of the south African work force. Though this may seem to not be a not so welcome development as unemployment is a major hounding factor, robotics could also very much open up unrealized industries for the youth bringing forward fast and efficient manufacturing businesses and ventures.

Artificial intelligence, a disruptive technological venture will also be utilized into major industries like Agriculture and healthcare. Rather than just taking away jobs as commonly proposed the venture could be a source of empowerment to rather un-skilled workers, prepping them up for more complex technical responsibilities. This would mean there would be a need for them to be educated and henceforth the creation educational jobs and roles.

Boosting of Artificial Intelligence in African Web Based Ventures.

Artificial intelligence
source : Techgist Africa

A majority of Africa’s technological sector is web based. This is due to a rise of mobile smartphone usage. Many business ventures reach their customers via online advertisement which in turn are accessed by smartphone users. Integrating web automation into mainstream African ventures would be very developmental. This for one would of course firstly create teaching hubs where people could host hackathons for the furthering of technology. Promoting a digital culture across the continent. Also, already available services like ATM machines in banks that are basically web based and works with the internet could see an improvement in services rendered.

Also, the customer service section of online African businesses could be greatly affected and improved. Automated chatbots can provide responses to commonly asked questions and services. This would reduce the cost of work and labour maintenance and would greatly improve speed and delivery of services, thus promoting a better client-service provider relationship.

Another beneficial field is the security systems and policing, if worked on, features such as facial matching could be used to reduce crime rate and also in the field of transportation in lights of the control of road traffic in general. Smart and intelligent machinery would also be very applicable in the healthcare system majorly in the fields of dentistry and robotics surgery as a whole. This would mean reduced error margins in delivering health related services leading to better efficiency and output and a greatly reduced loss of life in general.

For artificial intelligence to generally have a good footing in the continent it should be instilled right from the onset of childhood education in the particular STEM field which are science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Also, African leaders should embrace and support artificial intelligence as this would pave way for a good thriving ground for its disruption across the continent.

Artificial intelligence is the new disruptive technology that’s changing the way the world works and spearheading the popular talked about ‘fourth industrial revolution’. Already a better and major factor in developed world markets this new field of technology would be very beneficial to the African continent. There would be threats on jobs, that is very much possible but there would also be avenues for the creation of new and better jobs all in the lights of building and developing a better Africa.

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