Artificial Intelligence: A direction for future growth

In present Digital age, Artificial intelligence has many prospects for developing countries. Artificial intelligence (AI) is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks associated with intellect and reasoning.

According to report by Mc Kinsey 2018 Global institute, artificial intelligence has the potential to add to global output by about 16 percent or around $13 trillion by 2030. It has potential to contribute to an annual average productivity growth of about 1.2 percent by 2030.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has potential to contribute towards productivity enhancement in various sectors through job and capacity creation. According Mc Kinsey report, AI will create about 2.3 million new job roles by 2030.

Prospects in Various Sectors

AI in Agriculture

AI in agriculture has potential for soil and crop management, animal husbandry including dairying and other related activities. In US, Artificial Intelligence is widely engaged and utilized for maximized and efficient returns. According to study by Maher, 2018, the global AI in agriculture market size was US$ 240 million in 2017, and is expected to reach US$ 1.1 billion by 2025.  

In Agriculture Artificial Intelligence can be used to monitor soil health using sensors, cameras, and infrared rays that scan the soil for its nutritional properties. Again, AI in crop sowing is being used as a tool for analyzing to determine when and how to sow crops.

Artificial Intelligence can help to make decisions on the right time to plant, apply fertilisers, harvest, bale, till, etc.

AI in Industry

Through Innovations in cloud computing, big data storage and analysis, artificial intelligence is making great strides in improving efficiency in manufacturing environments, leading to better performance. Artificial intelligence has revolutionized manufacturing from preventative maintenance to the automation of human tasks.

AI in manufacturing has capacity to produce error free and efficient work of high quality. Tech giants like Microsoft (AI for Accessibility) and smaller leading companies like AtBot are working to revolutionize AI for all information workers in manufacturing environment.

AI in Service Sector

Customer satisfaction is key to growth and success in service industry. Artificial Intelligence through various digital platforms and applications in business processes is contributing to Customer service and satisfaction.

AI is not only helping in reducing the human effort, but it is also bringing in more accuracy and precision in service sector ecosystem driven by innovative mobile app developers. A lot of customer service representative’s job is repetitive, ordinary and has a pattern which makes it easy for the AI scientists to develop algorithms that fit in the space well.

Application of AI covers almost all type of services. Currently healthcare, Marketing and Finance are major service sectors that are reaping the benefits of AI for their growth.

According to Autonomous Research, due to the development of AI in financial services sector, within next 10 years the financial industry will save USD1 trillion in costs by automating certain activities. In finance services AI can be used for developing psychographic profile and proper database of customers which will help in reducing some of risks associated with finance sector.

AI Prospects in Africa

AI is performing quite well in North America, Europe and Asia. Although in Africa artificial intelligence application is still at inception stage, it has vast prospects for continent in areas of Agriculture, healthcare Public Services and finance. High rate of growth within African continent requires innovative approaches to address various economic challenges faced by African countries. Machine learning and associated computer-facilitated governance could be a useful tool for augmenting capacity in various economic sectors of Africa.

Many African countries including Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Ghana and Rwanda have begun to take steps towards promoting AI in their countries.

Google has been working in direction of developing Artificial Intelligence initiatives within Africa. Google has established AI Laboratory in Ghana, Accra. The AI laboratory will be used to develop AI solutions to help improve healthcare, agriculture and education.

In Kigali, Rwanda, the African Institute for Mathematical Scientists (AIMS) is running a one-year Masters degree programme in partnership with Facebook and Google to create the next generation of tech leaders in Africa.

With the right mix of policies for education and infrastructure, Africa can reap the benefits of the AI technology in the years to come.

Dr Jaya Shukla is a lecturer at Mount Kenya University, Kigali Campus

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