Google kicks off research to solve African problems using AI
The team of researchers at the Google AI centre in Ghana said they would provide access to datasets and tools for African countries to innovate and develop solutions in every field, including health and agriculture.
According to them, satellite imagery and machine learning algorithms could help in estimating population, identifying the current state of climate and quantifying the impact of natural disaster.
Speaking at the media open house of its AI centre in Accra, the Head of AI team in Ghana, Mr Moustapha Cisse, said AI was important for accelerating various areas of science and capable of tackling some of the biggest global challenges
“The primary goal is to advance science. The results of our research hopefully will be used in applied problems to enable and accelerate the finding of solutions to these problems. Most of what we do in our research centre is available to the larger public. We open-sourced code so that everyone can use it to build solutions,” he said.
Cisse added that the research activities were strictly guided by AI principles that ensured that the rights of people were not violated.
He added, “In the ideation phase, we design the technology while keeping in mind critical and important issues like algorithm interference. How do we design technology so that it does not discriminate against certain categories of people? How do we design new algorithms that incorporate notions of privacy from the beginning?”
An AI researcher at the centre, John Quinn, said one of the many applications of artificial intelligence was using satellite imagery to determine population census and provide emergency services in places with limited population data.
According to a software developer at the centre, Nyalleng Mooro, the AI centre forms part of Google’s structured efforts to explore and integrate more diverse experiences beyond present-day centres of innovation.
She said the researchers would be using AI to solve problems for everyone, in every part of the world.
Meanwhile, Google on Monday announced that applications were open for its next round of Google Africa Certifications Scholarships that would provide mobile developer training to 100,000 Africans to develop world-class apps.
Google said it was offering 30,000 scholarship opportunities and 1,000 grants for the Google Associate Android, Mobile Web, and Associate Cloud Engineer certifications.
According to it, the developer training is available to applicants from across Africa, and will be delivered by Google’s partners, Pluralsight and Andela.
“Africa is on track to have the largest working-age population of 1.1 billion by 2034,” says Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor.
“Today’s announcement marks a transition from inspiring new developers, to preparing them for the jobs of tomorrow. Google’s certifications are developed around a job-task analysis and test learners for skills employers expect developers to have in these domains.”
The Google Africa Certifications Scholarships announcement today follows the announcement of 15,000 single course scholarships and 500 nano-degree scholarships in March last year.