The impact we can create through the national-level support of AI
At Zindi we host a community of over 25,000 data scientists from across the continent and around the world, using the power of AI to solve some of the world’s most pressing business and social problems. Our vision is to make AI accessible to everyone.
We realize this vision can be achieved only in partnership with local, national, and global efforts across both the public and private sectors. National support for AI is critical for the future of South Africa, whether it comes in the form of improving access to education and training, supporting businesses and researchers developing cutting-edge and innovative AI solutions, or crafting appropriate regulations that ensure the ethical use of AI.
National-level support will unlock the transformational power of AI in three key ways.
First, by developing their capacity in AI, South African businesses and organizations across multiple industries will achieve new levels of efficiency, reach, and global competitiveness. At Zindi, we have helped insurance companies use AI to offer better products and services to their customers. We have helped the South African National Space Agency (SANSA) automate the process of accurately mapping informal settlements across the country using just satellite imagery. We have helped the South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) predict the location and time of roadside accidents before they happen.
Second, AI is one of the fastest growing markets in the world today, valued at $40 billion USD in 2019 and growing at a rate of 42% each year. For the long-term development of a country like South Africa that is faced with persistently high levels of youth unemployment, we must focus on developing skills in globally-competitive, future-looking fields such as data science and AI. By upskilling in AI and its related industries, South Africans will have access to valuable career opportunities for years to come.
And third, AI solutions have the potential to impact millions of ordinary people’s lives every day, from voice recognition in local languages, to optimising the location of first responders along the N1 highway. The transformational power of AI can be felt across any number of sectors and enable everything from simple improvements to our everyday lives to actually saving lives.
At Zindi I have had the privilege of witnessing thousands of young people across Africa building their skills in AI, applying them to solve real-world problems, and opening a critical door for themselves and for their countries. I look forward to seeing South Africans and South Africa as a whole achieve new heights through AI-powered innovation.