AI Unleashed: Five Facts From African Experts

Published 1 year ago
By Forbes Africa | Peter Engelbrecht
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Decoding types, machine learning, ethics, and the thrilling future of AI.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative technology with the potential to revolutionize various domains. This article delves into insights provided by Professor Ritesh Ajoodha from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and Reinard Mortlock, Founder and CEO of LIVEX, on the main types of AI, the role of machine learning, ethical considerations, job displacement, current limitations, and promising future advancements.

Types of AI and their strengths and limitations


According to Ajoodha, two prominent approaches in AI are deep learning and probabilistic approaches. Deep learning, although highly effective, is often considered a black-box method due to its enigmatic decision-making processes. It poses ethical concerns in fields like medicine, where explainability and transparency are crucial. On the other hand, probabilistic approaches, based on probability theory, offer transparency and allow for a clear understanding of the decision-making process. They are particularly suitable for applications with optimization problems and simpler business scenarios.

Machine learning’s contribution to AI development

Machine learning plays a vital role encompassing data analytics, leveraging big data for various analyses. Machine learning algorithms enable relevant product recommendations based on user preferences and search history. Additionally, machine learning aids in extrapolating data for AI models, detecting anomalies for fraud prevention, and holds significant potential for numerous other applications.

Ethical considerations in AI implementation


Both Ajoodha and Mortlock highlight the importance of ethical considerations in AI implementation. As AI technology evolves, regulations and constraints become necessary to ensure transparency, fairness, and accountability. Without proper regulation, AI systems, especially black-box models, can pose challenges regarding decision-making processes, data sanitization, and maintenance. Establishing regulations that promote disclosure and transparency is crucial for addressing ethical concerns.

Potential risks and benefits of AI in job displacement

Mortlock emphasizes that AI, particularly generative AI, is still in its early stages and cannot replace human input and evaluation. While content generation and automation may increase, complex tasks requiring human judgement and creativity remain unaffected. Rather than causing job losses, AI models have the potential to create new job opportunities, especially in fields that facilitate AI development.

Current limitations and future advancements in AI research


Globally, AI research has received substantial support and funding, leading to advancements in hardware capabilities and computational power. However, bottlenecks persist, particularly in regions with limited AI backing, such as some African countries. Nonetheless, promising advancements are anticipated, particularly in healthcare, finance, and risk management. AI’s potential in cancer detection, early diagnosis, fraud detection, and enhanced number-crunching holds great promise for future advancements.

AI continues to evolve and reshape various industries, presenting both opportunities and challenges. While generative AI and machine learning algorithms offer valuable capabilities, ethical considerations must be addressed to ensure transparency and fairness. The ongoing advancements in AI research, coupled with proper regulation and ethical frameworks, can pave the way for a future where AI positively impacts society while minimizing risks.