Kenyan firms have been urged to tap the full potential of Artificial Intelligence or deep learning technologies to improve customer experiences and productivity gains.
AI, which combs through large troves of raw data to predict outcomes and recognize patterns, is already used in web search systems, marketing recommendation functions and security and financial trading programs.
The technology will spread to driverless cars and service robots in the future, experts say.
And now experts speaking at a leadership summit on Artificial intelligence in Nairobi this week want Kenyan firms to take full advantage of the deep learning technologies.
The conference was held to explore the growth and transformative value of AI technology in emerging economies like Kenya.
Its aim was to champion AI transformation, build AI capacity, and create an infrastructure for organisations to easily integrate AI solutions in Africa.
Hosted by the Artificial Intelligence Center of Excellence Africa (AICE) the second AI For Leaders’ Summit brought together industry leaders to discuss a range of topics including how Africa can develop a clear AI strategy; Investing in AI infrastructure; and training and upskilling the workforce.
Other topics included fostering collaboration and partnerships across academia, industry, and government to promote the development and deployment of AI solutions and ethical AI concerns.
"The world is on an AI frenzy but we see Africa has to accelerate its vision and participation in the immense value the AI industry has to offer our continent. We need to create a strategy on how we too can become producers and owners of technology infrastructure and not just consumers as is the case now," said John Kamara, Founder and Chair for AICE.
"To do this, we must invest in AI and data science talent as a key driver to building qualitative human capital that can have a massive impact on our FDI. Investing in AI research, training more AI engineers, investing in AI start-ups, and investing in the infrastructure required to support AI are essential for Africa to fully leverage the opportunity presented by the 4IR."
According to AICE, by leveraging AI technology, African countries can automate and streamline various processes across sectors, including healthcare, education, and agriculture.
"For instance, AI algorithms can be used to diagnose diseases and recommend treatment plans, streamline administrative tasks in schools and universities, and optimise crop production in agriculture. Such solutions can lead to better outcomes, increased productivity, and cost savings, all of which can contribute to the growth of the African economy," it noted.
The summit attracted some of the top global AI leaders as panellists including Amit Kumar Pandey, Co-Founder of BEING AI, Dr Jacques Ludik, Founder and CEO, Machine Intelligence Institute Africa, Dr Kwon Choon, Chairman of NACSI - National Agency of Cognitive Science Industry, South Korea; Kate Kalot, Founder & Chief Executive Officer at NVIDIA leading a global team working closely with partners to create disruptive AI applications with a social impact; and Steven Sutherland, Adapt IT Divisional Executive.
The summit aimed at building a solid foundation for AI adoption in Kenya and beyond including building smart capacity and grow the AI market economy.
“As the future of Africa's emerging economies, AI technology offers enormous potential for growth and development, and AICE is committed to ensuring that Kenya is at the forefront of this transformative revolution. AICE, through its partnership with various stakeholders globally aims to spearhead the adoption and implementation of AI technology in Kenya and beyond," added Kamara.
"We have started by developing an AI-enabled workforce by providing training and resources to AI engineers and data scientists, and by promoting research and development in the field of AI,” he said.
He said AICE is open to collaborating with the government and other organisations to create an enabling environment for the adoption of the technology, including policies and regulations that support its development and use."
AICE noted that Kenya is already making strides in the adoption of AI technology, with several start-ups and organisations leveraging the technology to solve various challenges.
"However, there is still a long way to go, AICE is committed to accelerating the process of AI transformation, with the ultimate goal of transforming Kenya's economy and ensuring that it remains competitive in the rapidly changing global landscape," it added.