The chances that you have interacted with an artificial intelligence program is staggering. It takes money to make money and right now a lot of that money is being directed into the development of artificial intelligence. In the last few years, several high-profile tech giants, such as Stephen Hawking, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have all shared their opinions on the coming industrial revolution ruled by artificial intelligence and machine learning. From hedge funds to venture capital firms to investments banks, robots are creeping into trading floors and helping traders perform better whilst smart systems are becoming more involved in critical decision-making ranging from healthcare to the criminal justice system. Maybe justice is too difficult for humans to administer alone and unbiased artificial minds could help balance the scales on critical judgement bordering on hate crimes.

The quest is on, in the long run to singularity – a point at which artificial intelligence outstrips our own and machines go on to improve themselves at an exponential rate. Should humans fear artificial intelligence, or should humans embrace AI? human friendly robots or killer machines? These are lingering question on the minds of AI watchers. Whilst some argue that AI technologies of today are simply not advanced enough or sufficiently embedded into our society for that to happen on the other hand others argue that in the long term the outlook is less clear. AI is developing rapidly in warfare and policing and certainly becoming a reason for concern. Autonomous armed robots, which can track and target people using facial recognition software are just around the corner. We could become slaves to automated decision makers and whoever controls them.

Two of China’s universities are among the top 10 in a ranking of sources of the most frequently cited research papers in the AI field. Is it oddly coincidental that China’s AI surveillance system which uses facial recognition software to track down fugitives through 20 million spy cameras across China is also called Skynet the name of the AI computer in the Terminator movie? Deepmind, Googles AI program under Google X owned by Alphabet ranks number one on AI research with highly respected publications. Other notable artificial intelligence software’s are Alexa under Amazon Echo owned by Amazon, Siri, Apples virtual assistant, owned by Apple Inc, Masquerade and Zurich Eye owned by Facebook, Watson one of IBM’S supercomputer and AI projects, and the Nervana systems operated by Intel.

Whilst India is also ranked high in investments towards Artificial Intelligence development among emerging markets, Sub-Saharan Africa on the other hand can either join the wave or miss out and face dire consequences. Decisions made by machines could impact the African continent affecting everything from employment, healthcare to access to finance to how government services are delivered. With Sub-Saharan Africa’s rising digital age, AI could initiate an apocalyptic doom for the continent if the ethics and governance of AI is not keenly addressed to prevent internet fraud or exploitation from more advanced countries or corporations in the field.



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