BUJUMBURA February 9th (ABP) – Artificial intelligence and its societal impacts in Africa was, on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, on the agenda of a conference which was organized in Bujumbura (economic capital). That activity, which was opened by the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Communication, Information Technologies and Media, Mr. Ferdinand Manirakiza, was organized by the Center for Research in Communication and Media (CERCOM) in collaboration with the UNESCO Chair, of the University of Bordeaux Montaigne and the Graduate School of the University of Burundi, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.
Through his communication centered on “artificial intelligence in Africa”, Professor Alain Kiyindou of the UNESCO Chair at the University of Bordeaux Montaigne pointed out that the applications of intelligence can be observed in several fields. For example, in the field of research and more specifically in data collection and data processing, artificial intelligence (AI) is able to navigate through the gigantic database of scientific publications by matching and by cross-referencing information from work scattered around the world by weaving correlations between that information that no human could have seen.
According to Professor Kiyindou, a study conducted by Beta shows that publications using deep learning are 15% more likely to be new than others. These papers, he said, are 30% more likely to be in the top 1% most cited papers in their field. This suggests that AI increases the creation of new knowledge and its scientific impact, he added. “We also believe that it accelerates scientific production and dissemination, particularly in the fields of medical imaging, genomics, electronic and connected health,” the professor said. Deep Learning, he continued to say, allows knowledge to be recombined and expands the research space, and in this, AI increases human creative capacities.
As for data processing, Prof. Kiyindou pointed out that intelligent robots feed on experiences accumulated in the laboratory, as tests are carried out. In the field of life sciences, for example, they are able to precisely determine the optimal conditions for a microbial culture, while correlating it with metabolic data (gene expression, cellular protein content, various molecules, etc.).
Artificial intelligence thus speeds up the various stages of experimentation while making them more reliable, he said.
Information and communication technologies are therefore revolutionizing the whole world in general and Burundi in particular, as noted by the Permanent Secretary at the Burundian Ministry in charge of Information Technologies and Media. To this end, he underlined, Burundi has set itself the objective of enabling the country to benefit from a real technological leap likely to improve its socio-economic growth.
He also indicated that the Burundian Ministry in charge of Information Technologies is delighted that artificial intelligence and its algorithms have already burst into our daily lives. Among its uses, Mr. Manirakiza cited, among other things, the search for routes carried out by our GPS, automatic translation in real time, voice recognition of assistants on simple Smartphones, or even image recognition which makes it possible to classify huge image banks with a low error rate.
According to UNESCO 2019, artificial intelligence is the set of advanced technologies that allow machines to imitate certain functionalities of human intelligence, including characteristics such as perception, learning, reasoning, problem solving, language interaction and even producing creative work.
Thus, according to Dr. Fiacre Muhimpundu, chairman of CERCOM, those applications have advantages but also disadvantages when they are not used well. Hence, the CERCOM calls for a sustained supervision of their users.