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UNESCO boss says floods and drought can be managed using Artificial intelligence

A family struggles to get out of their flooded houses in Nyando, Nyanza region in Kenya on Wednesday. Photo/OJWANG JOE.

BENGUERIR, Morocco, Dec 13 – Over the years Kenya has been experiencing perrenial droughts and floods leaving behind a trail of deaths and destruction.

However, Director General of UNESCO Audrey Azoulay, during the two day Forum on Artificial Intelligence in Africa in Benguerir said floods and droughts can be managed using Artificial intelligence (A. I).

Artificial Intelligence is simply intelligence demonstrated by machines as opposed to humans, it has been billed as the fourth revolution in the world.

“AI is an agent of transformation which is definitely going to change lives through communicating and sharing of information and data”, UNESCO boss says.

Azoulay however noted that half of the 8 billion global population is not connected to the digital platform which presents one of the main challenges in application of Artificial intelligence.

Kenya Redcross has in the past collaborated with local mobile telephone services providers in sharing data and information on drought and floods in Kenya with an aim of minimizing the risks.

UNESCO Director however encouraged African higher learning institutions to include Artificial Intelligence in their courses.

She says AI is a global conversation and with Africa having the largest number of youths, the continent should not be left behind in the process. Moroccan minister for Education Said Amzazi submitted that with emergence of young dynamic entrepreneurs in Africa, Artificial intelligence will help in promoting their businesses on the global market.
“Irrigation, surveillance, health and marketing will now depend on Artificial intelligence”, He noted.

However, he warned that the continent needs to prepare its people against the implications of AI saying that if not properly handled it may lead to loss of jobs and affect the way humans interact at work places.

“At least 66 million jobs could be at risk and therefore there must be a pan African strategy to look into unethical issues while embracing Artificial intelligence”, he added.

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Ibrahim Yousry from Microsoft says they have invested USD 16 Billion in research and development of Artificial Intelligence with an objective of spreading the skills to all.

He says transparency and accountability must be observed while embracing AI.

Other speakers said efforts must be made to ensure that the AI revolution improves living standards of humans.

UNESCO has set up the first school of research on Artificial intelligence in London United Kingdom.

The two-day forum bringing together different experts from the African continent at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Benguerir Morocco came to a close on Thursday.


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