Artificial Intelligence (AI), is set to transform the business world by creating $2.9 trillion of business value and 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity globally, Forbes reports.
Africa’s rapid uptake of digital technologies suggests businesses across the continent may be similarly eager to adopt AI — and benefit from large-scale improved performance, transformation, and competitiveness. However, essential infrastructure and government policies must be implemented to make successful and widespread AI a reality in Africa. This is how African Businesses can benefit from Artificial Intelligence.
Improving the shipping industry
Autonomous trucks have the potential to revolutionise Africa’s shipping industry. They can save businesses time, money, logistical problems, and improve reliability and safety. In fact, 1.35 million people die around the world every year in traffic accidents, according to the World Health Organisation. Autonomous vehicles eliminate the main cause of these accidents: human error. Also, unlike human drivers, AI never gets sick or injured, or requires shift changes, and can work limitless hours in a working week. And, since businesses will no longer need to pay human drivers, autonomous trucks can save significant money. However, transport regulatory units across Africa still need to implement necessary preliminary infrastructure like intelligent roads and certain government policies before the continent’s ready for this autonomous future.
Protecting financial security
AI has the power to strengthen financial security for businesses of all sizes in Africa. In fact, AI financial security programs are set to become increasingly popular as African businesses continue to focus on strengthening security and minimising risk in an interconnected and globalised world. For example, Ayasdi is an innovative machine intelligence software company that uses big data to help businesses with financial security. Essentially, Ayasdi takes large sets of data, analyses it for variables and discrepancies, and then accurately predicts when financial problems are set to occur. As such, companies are better prepared to handle complex challenges, and can avoid running into financial trouble. Notably, HSBC is already using Ayasdi to spot and prevent the insidious problem of financial crime, which includes threats like money laundering, fraud and terrorist funding.
Rather than displacing jobs, AI can be empowering for low-skilled workers by giving them the skills needed to take on more complex roles. This is an urgent need in areas lacking proper access to education and skills training. For example, Volley for Enterprise is a mobile learning platform that works with corporate systems to provide employees with continuous tailored training to close knowledge and skills gaps. Simple customer service tasks, for example, can be performed by chatbots, while human workers are properly equipped to deal with more complex problems. South Africa, in particular, can greatly benefit from this type of technology, as the country’s dealing with high unemployment rates and a lack of skilled workers to fill open positions.
AI promises a number of benefits for businesses across Africa. With the right infrastructure and government policies in place, African countries can use AI to spur innovation and economic and social development.
Author: Briana Hilton