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Saturday, July 21, 2018

Op-Ed: How Africa can embrace an artificial intelligence enabled future | CNBCAfrica.com

"Currently, no African country is among the top 10 countries expected to benefit most from AI and automation. But, the continent has the potential to catch up with the rest of world if we act fast" says Zoaib Hoosen, Microsoft Managing Director.


t’s no longer news that Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be a driving force behind the Fourth Industrial Revolution, with the global economic returns of this revolution expected to be in the region of about $16 trillion.

Along with these returns, AI is also expected to create 2.3 million new jobs by 2020, according to Gartner.

However, if we look at previous revolutions, history shows us that these revolutions have always been accompanied by a brief transition of temporary job loss followed by a period of recovery where job creation moves into more positive territory.

This means that we all need to take steps now to prepare AI in the future...

Combining STEM with the arts
Young people have a leg up on those already in the working world because they can easily develop the necessary skills for these new roles. It’s therefore essential that our education system constantly evolves to equip youth with the right skills and way of thinking to be successful in jobs that may not even exist yet.

As the division of tasks between man and machine changes, we must re-evaluate the type of knowledge and skills imparted to future generations.

For example, technical skills will be required to design and implement AI systems, but interpersonal skills, creativity and emotional intelligence will also become crucial in giving humans an advantage over machines.

“At one level, AI will require that even more people specialise in digital skills and data science. But skilling-up for an AI-powered world involves more than science, technology, engineering and math. As computers behave more like humans, the social sciences and humanities will become even more important. Languages, art, history, economics, ethics, philosophy, psychology and human development courses can teach critical, philosophical and ethics-based skills that will be instrumental in the development and management of AI solutions.” This is according to Microsoft president, Brad Smith, and EVP of AI and research, Harry Shum, who recently authored the book “The Future Computed”, which primarily deals with AI and its role in society.

Interestingly, institutions like Stanford University are already implementing this forward-thinking approach. The university offers a programme called CS+X, which integrates its computer science degree with humanities degrees, resulting in a Bachelor of Arts and Science qualification.
Read more... 

Recommended Reading

The Future Computed is available here 
The Future Computed: Artificial Intelligence and its role in society by Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer and Harry Shum, Executive Vice President of Microsoft AI and Research Group. 

Source: CNBCAfrica.com


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