AI to improve Africa
The world’s most advanced artificial intelligence is being brought to Africa where it will focus on everyday challenges in education, healthcare and other areas…
What could Africa learn from the world’s most sophisticated cognitive computer? This is the question behind an initiative that will see IBM’s award-winning supercomputer Watson being applied to challenges on our continent.
Watson is far from just any computer. In the most significant breakthrough for artif icial intelligence to date, Watson famously defeated two of the world’s human Jeopardy champions at the famous American quiz competition in which contestants answer trivia challenges in the form of questions. To win the competition, Watson had to understand sophisticated natural language questions and consult its vast library of human knowledge, learned from online sources such as Wikipedia, in nanoseconds.
Now ‘Project Lucy’ will see Watson using its marvellous online brain to tackle developing world problems.
Director of IBM Research in Africa, Kamal Bhattacharya said that the continent holds very interesting questions for sophisticated analytics systems.
“In the last decade, Africa has been a tremendous growth story – yet the continent’s challenges, stemming from population growth, water scarcity, disease, low agricultural yield and other factors are impediments to inclusive economic growth,” said Bhattacharya.
“With t he abilit y to learn f rom emerging patterns and discover new correlations, Watson’s cognitive capabilities hold enormous potential in Africa – helping it to achieve in the next two decades what today’s developed markets have achieved over two centuries.”
A new research laboratory is being developed for t he i nitiative where researchers will aim at commercially-viable solutions in areas such as healthcare, education, water and sanitation, human mobility and agriculture. The work will integrate with research at learning facilities in African countries too.
IBM has created a website where anyone can upload images that best illustrate the everyday challenges facing Africa.