AI in Zim: Let’s engage together

BUILDING upon the foundations laid by Zimbabwean leaders such as James Manyika (pictured), Google’s vice-president, and Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet, Cassava Technologies, and Liquid C2, we are poised to ensure that every African benefits from the ongoing technology revolution.

BUILDING upon the foundations laid by Zimbabwean leaders such as James Manyika, Google’s vice-president, and Strive Masiyiwa, founder of Econet, Cassava Technologies, and Liquid C2, we are poised to ensure that every African benefits from the ongoing technology revolution.

Collaboration with global tech giants seeking partnerships in Africa is underway, setting the stage for significant advancements in AI across the continent.

It is imperative to delve deeper into the specific implications and opportunities that AI presents for Zimbabwe.

My aim is that readers, upon perusing this piece, feel inspired to embark on their individual journey into Artificial Intelligence.

For those not started yet, instructions are provided towards the end of this article. Let us aim to have everyone engaged in discussions about AI by next week.

In our previous article, we explored the concept of Artificial Intelligence and its potential to revolutionise various industries.

While AI holds great promise, it also presents significant challenges that must be addressed as we move forward.

Ethical implications are a primary concern surrounding AI, given its immense power.

As AI algorithms become more sophisticated, it is crucial to ensure their development and deployment are ethical and responsible.

This includes safeguarding privacy, addressing bias, and ensuring fairness in decision-making processes. Privacy is a critical concern in the AI age, as AI systems collect and analyse vast amounts of personal data.

Clear regulations and robust security measures are essential to protect individuals' privacy and prevent misuse. Bias in AI algorithms is another pressing issue. If the data for training the algorithms is biased, the AI systems may perpetuate societal prejudices, leading to unfair outcomes.

It is vital to develop AI algorithms with diverse and representative datasets to minimise bias. Job displacement is a concern as AI automates tasks previously performed by humans.

However, history shows that technological advancements create new job opportunities. Re-skilling and up-skilling programmes are crucial to mitigate job displacement. Despite these challenges, AI presents opportunities to improve healthcare, education, and environmental sustainability.

Collaboration between policymakers, industry leaders, and researchers is essential to realise these benefits. Elsewhere this week, the European Parliament approved the European Union (EU)'s AI Act, marking the world's first law specifically dealing with artificial intelligence.

The Act aims to regulate AI development and usage within the EU, with a focus on encouraging open-source AI and limiting the potentially negative impacts of AI giants like OpenAI's GPT.

The law will apply only in the EU, but given the size of the market, its compliance is expected to have a global impact. YouTube announced a new policy requiring creators to label videos that contain realistic-looking AI-generated content.

This move is part of a broader effort to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of AI technologies in content creation.

The policy aims to help viewers distinguish between content created by humans and that generated by AI, addressing concerns about misinformation and authenticity.

These developments highlight the rapidly evolving landscape of artificial intelligence, with significant implications for legislation, technology and entertainment.

In Zimbabwe, AI adoption is poised to gaining momentum across various industries, including healthcare, finance, and agriculture.

While AI promises increased efficiency and productivity, concerns about job displacement and bias must be addressed.

The future of work in Zimbabwe with AI presents both opportunities and challenges.

Companies must embrace AI while ensuring benefits for employees and society.

Proper planning and investment in re-skilling programmes are necessary.

As we navigate the AI revolution, it is essential to balance innovation with responsibility. By addressing ethical challenges and embracing opportunities, we can shape AI for the benefit of humanity.

While addressing these challenges, it is equally important to embrace the opportunities that AI presents. AI has the potential to improve healthcare outcomes by assisting in diagnosis, drug discovery, and personalised medicine.

It can enhance education through personalised learning experiences and adaptive tutoring. In my well-considered view, the educational curricula in an AI-driven setting will require adaptation in schools.

The emphasis should transition from evaluating the knowledge presented by students to evaluating their utilisation of AI in their tasks.

We must acknowledge the inevitability of AI's pervasive influence. Students will inevitably seek out and utilise the convenient solutions to their assignments offered by their smartphones.

Similar challenges arose with the advent of internet search engines like Google.

ChatGPT developed by OpenAI is the dominant player in the AI space.

It is in fact; the doyen of Artificial Intelligence.

ChatGPT uses deep learning to generate human-like text responses based on the input it receives.

It can carry on conversations, answer questions, assist with tasks, and more. There are many downstream vendors, who market their AI products in different brand names. Some of them are ChatOn AI, Chat & Ask AI, AI Voice Chat etc.

They often offer a few days for free, followed by a monthly or annual subscription.

For those able to install ChatGPT, you can get the free version, which will satisfy virtually all your needs at this point.

During a conversation with a journalist friend Michelle Hakata, she pointed out the accessibility of Pi an AI Assistant connected to WhatsApp. Pi can be easily accessed through the link assistant, which serves as an easy gateway into the world of Artificial Intelligence.

When you open the link, Pi greets you and for your response, a narrow window similar to WhatsApp's appears at the bottom of the Pi screen.

From there, the possibilities are endless, and users are compelled to explore further and never to look back!

Next week we shall be examining further, the wider scope of AI. As for now, ‘we are chewing on the small digestible chunk we bit from the colossal wave of Artificial Intelligence’.

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