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Mutambara speaks on AI opportunities for Zimbabwe

by Staff reporter
26 Nov 2023 at 08:24hrs | Views
Zimbabwe and other African countries risk losing out on the potential US$7 trillion that artificial intelligence (AI) could bring to the world economy if they are unable to optimise the productivity of AI goods, robotics professor Arthur Mutambara said.

AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems.

Specific applications of AI include expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition and machine vision.

AI is seen raising the global gross domestic product (GDP) by nearly US$7 trillion in the next decade.

Mutambara, who is also a former deputy prime minister, told an In Conversation with Trevor Ideas Festival in Nyanga last week that the continent needed to embrace AI.

"We are talking about AI (which) has to put US$7 trillion into GDP," Mutambara said.

"The danger is: "Is Africa worth the value of US49$7 trillion? Are we producing the AI product? Are we manufacturing the AI product? Or are we just consumers of AI? What are we?

"We must also have a share of that. We can talk about healthcare, finance, efficiency, reduction of costs and so on."

Mutambara said AI could drive productivity and production.

"There are so many other things that you can do with generative AI," he said. "You can add US$4 million to global GDP by generative AI. General AI will add U$4 trillion annually to the global economy."

He added: "On top of the US$11 million coming from the fourth industrial revolution, what is the major driver? Productivity is being driven by AI.

"Why? Because data is so much, remember the way robots and AI works is about data. "They give you so much data. There's so much data now and there's so much computing power."

Mutambara said Zimbabwe needed strategic thinking to get things done. He also flagged the risks and dangers in AI.

Existential risks – concerns that AI could eventually become so powerful that it poses an existential threat to humanity by accident or design," he said.

"What happens when we have a million super-intelligent agents whose capabilities surpass those of Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Elon Musk, Prof Edward Witten or Prof Andrew Wiles?

"How can humans control society or the world with a million such super intelligent agents?"

Source - The Standard