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AI in Focus 2023 Google Africa Internet Academy in South Africa

AI in Focus 2023 Google Africa Internet Academy in South Africa

The fifth edition of Google Internet Academy workshop training concluded on Tuesday, September 12 with leaders agreeing on a full focus on the artificial intelligence (AI) in Johannesburg, South Africa

The annual event which kicked off on Monday, September 11 was organized by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Centre for Data and Digital Communication and the Artificial Institute of Intelligence in conjunction with UJ Business School.

The event which was officially opened by Prof. Mandia Radebe, the Director Center for Data and Digital Communication brought together business and technology leaders from across Africa to discuss the latest trends in technology policy and regulations.

“Google Internet Academy is one of the premier annual events in the continent that brings together business and technology leaders from across Africa,” Radebe Stated.

Focus on AI Readiness, Google Internet Academy push

The event examined the economic opportunities that AI brings for the continent to enable the current and future generations to live in a more prosperous, healthy, secure and sustainable world.

“The increased focus on artificial intelligence (AI) has fast-tracked the need for conversations between all stakeholders to look at the benefits of AI as well as the policy guardrails to mitigate risks,” Dr. Alistair Mokoena, Google SA County director stated.

Additionally, University of Johannesburg Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Prof. Sehaam Khan stated that the impact of AI is no longer a question to consider for the future and instead it is the reality that Africa must contend with daily.

At the same time, Khan also stated that the emergency of ChatGPT in 2022 is related to the potential disruption of AI, as it has a far-reaching implication on the education sector.

The leaders also agreed that Africa is behind in terms of policy, however they advocated for  opportunities that can help to build from the ground by using the pillar around human understanding and government trust.

AI is important for it’s potential to change how we live, work and play. It has been effectively used in business to automate tasks done by humans, including customer service work, fraud detection and quality control.

Additionally, leader’s  also underscored AI potential in Africa by committing to provide and leverage opportunities to have the right flow of data, labor and passports that will help people to integrate together.

At the same time, they also agreed that Android is the way forward.

Other topics discussed include use of personal information, people’s ability to understand and control how data is used as well as the impact of data driven technologies on people and the society.

Collaborative Initiatives

The first Google Africa Internet Academy was held at Wits University in 2016, Strathmore University in Mauritius and Unites States International University (USIU-Africa) hosted the second and third events in 2017 and 2021, respectively.

Google Africa Internet Academy is currently collaborating with different Universities in Africa as one of its strategies in aligning their objective of innovation to impact society and improve sustainability.

“As a leading company in AI, Google’s strategy is closely aligned with the UJ’s strategic objective of innovation for societal impact and sustainability, UJ’s Vice Chancellor and Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi.

Kenya’s capital Nairobi is expected to host the inaugural AI summit in September 2023.

“AFRICA met in the Africa Internet Academy at the  University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

As a result, the continent agreed that Nairobi, Kenya, will  host the inaugural Africa AI Summit in Sept 2024!,” Dennis Itumbi- Kenyan Digital Media Strategist.