The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Africa!

Artificial intelligence (AI) was first coined in 1956 by the scientist John McCarthy at Dartmouth College. Nearly 60 years later, it is now enjoying a major resurgence thanks to the exponential increases in computing power, the development of more sophisticated algorithms and the vast availability of data. The convergence of these technological developments has fueled AI’s rapid progress, making it the Centre of attention for technology investment.

Today the hype around the AI is at its peak and many believe that we stand at the edge of a technological revolution. It is argued that today’s transformations are not merely a continuity of the third industrial revolution but rather the start of a fourth industrial revolution which is characterized by a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological worlds.

AI’s unprecedented growth and impressive advancements are not limited to specific geographies but rather have an impact on all continents, Africa included. However, many African countries are still battling with issues related to the first, second and third industrial revolutions such as electricity, mechanization of production and automation. Therefore, questions about Africa’s preparedness for the fourth industrial revolution are being raised: Is Africa catching up with the continual advancement in technology?

From cheap abundant labor to natural resources, Africa’s current strengths seem not to match with the fundamental needs of the fourth industrial revolution that consist mainly of colossal investment capital, research and development (R&D) and highly-skilled talent. However, the ongoing industrial revolution represents an opportunity, if used well, that will enable Africa to become a main player in the world economy.

Artificial Intelligence is Improving the performance of Healthcare in Africa. African countries are aware of the necessity of technology in improving the performance of healthcare. In fact, some parts of Africa have already started integrating artificial intelligence in their healthcare systems. Some examples are as follow:

#SmaartHealth provides a Universal Access to Primary Healthcare for 1 billion Africans. Smaart Health is an Artificial Intelligence powered smartphone app, which allows you to carry out on demand Medical consultations on your smartphone.

You receive accurate medical diagnosis in less than 2 minutes, with instructions on what to do next. Users can also connect directly with foreign based doctors, accessing high quality Medical Advice and Prescription, from the comfort of their homes. It’s On demand 24/7 Via its android Smartphone.

SOPHiA: Medical institutions in Morocco, Cameroon and South Africa have integrated SOPHiA artificial intelligence for clinical genomics into their clinical workflow to improve patients’ care. SOPHiA would enable hospitals to analyze genomic data to identify disease-causing mutations in patients’ genomic profiles and decide on the most effective care.

Drones: Rwanda has adopted the world’s first national drone delivery network for medical aid, which is used to deliver blood to patients in remote areas. The California based Robotics company “Zipline” is working directly with Rwanda’s National Centre for Blood Transfusion to make 50 to 150 deliveries a day of blood to 21 transfusing facilities in the western part of the country. Rwanda has formalized drone regulations and is currently building a drone airport that is scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Scanning platform: An optical accessory that fits onto Android smartphones is now used by healthcare professional, in six African countries, to examine women for early signs of cervical cancer. The device is being enhanced by the integration of artificial intelligence to guide the healthcare professional through the diagnostic process.

Technology has been key to Africa’s development in recent years. From providing accessible information on market prices, weather, health and good farming practices; technology is improving the quality of life for people in Africa.

Today, Africa presents a hotbed for innovation and entrepreneurship that is not constrained by legacy systems. This is an opportunity that should be seized by policy makers and businesses to develop their own distinctive technology model with the objective to bring to mainstream use all of the emerging technologies such as robotics, 3D printing, AI and the IoT.

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