From the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), came to the submission on Monday, 15th of June 2020, that Artificial Intelligence (AI), has the potential to help humanity solve some of its biggest challenges. ITU said from combatting climate change to cleaner energy to affordable health care and global pandemic response, the potential is there.

However, the United Nation’s arm in charge of world’s telecommunications, said the race to capture value from the technology, challenges the globe’s ability to fully leverage AI to improve quality of life and the world. According to it, to use AI to make a difference, it must be used for good. ITU in its AI for Good: Global Impact report, ahead of its scheduled conference, observed that the technology has enormous potential to accelerate progress on all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The body noted that AI can help the 1.7 billion unbanked individuals gain access to digital financial services; reduce 1.3 million deaths yearly on roads; translate and educate in 2,000 African languages; monitor and protect ecosystems; lower public health costs for millions; elevate the quality of data collection during pandemics without sacrificing privacy, and improve the quality and accessibility of civic services in overcrowded cities.

According to ITU, it is becoming clearer to the world that the world can only achieve the United Nations SDGs by 2030, if the innovative voices of those in Africa, who are most affected by the challenges, are involved. It, therefore, said this is a clarion call for the rise of Africa’s innovative voice for the fourth industrial revolution.

ITU said Africa needs to adopt artificial intelligence AI now for two key reasons, which are, first, by 2030, it’ll be home to 46 per cent of the world’s youth. The continent’s rapid population growth means there is a need to think critically about the future of work. Secondly, Africa’s yearly infrastructure spend gap is $100 billion. ITU said the Continent can benefit immensely from lowering these costs with transformational technologies like AI. For Africa, the UN body said AI represents access, efficiency and a potential antidote to unemployment and underdevelopment.

But to maximize the effectiveness of limited resources, ITU said every organization and government seeking to meet its population’s needs should consider the power of AI to render their efforts more likely to succeed. For example, ITU said governments can distribute the limited fertilizers they purchase to the exact farmers that need them or distribute medical drugs to the right patient populations.

Furthermore, it stressed that companies with small budgets can adequately market to the right customers, sell more, grow their business to finally be able to create jobs for Africans. In addition, the body said Africa is perhaps the continent with the greatest diversity of data and use cases to feed the design of AI solutions that can be applied in most parts of the world.

ITU said Alliance4ai, AI Media group, AI for Development and Data Science Nigeria are some of the key private organizations pooling together resources to galvanize interest and activate African luminaries solving problems with the technology. It stressed that so far, these organizations reached over 25 000 Africans in 2019.


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