Microsoft has been making notable strides as far as artificial intelligence, popularly known as AI is concerned. This is not a new development though; AI is one of the hottest trends in technology in modern times and is a focus at the world’s most notable corporations, including Google and Amazon. Microsoft is building intelligent products that it hopes to popularize across its markets to solve social issues that range from public service to climate change.
The Redmond-based tech giant, which has also been operating in the East African market in the past three decades has incorporated AI systems in its products such as Bing search, Cortana voice assistant, and is also used in Windows 10 to decide which devices should receive the latest updates. The corporation has also included AI tools in other services such as Office365.
At an event held earlier today at Strathmore University Law School, Microsoft announced a partnership between the institution and Access Partnership that saw the launch of ‘AI for Good’ event series. The event was held at the University’s Microsoft Policy Innovation Centre, and primarily purposed to amplify Microsoft’s commitment to making AI services and products accessible to every Kenyan and organization in a way that will actively and positively impact economic growth, development, and inclusion.
“We are thrilled to be working with Strathmore and Access Partnership in creating awareness around the new frontier that AI will bring to Kenya. Showcasing Microsoft’s role as an ally for stakeholders within the Kenyan corporate sphere and ensuring its citizens can benefit from the full potential that AI technologies bring with it will only mean that ultimately, some of the region’s most pervasive problems will be addressed head-on,” said Ahmed El Essawi, Government Affairs Manager, Microsoft Middle East and Africa.
“Through providing workers, entrepreneurs, and organizations with access to high-quality digital tools, they will be empowered to compete at a global level and be at the forefront of economic transformation. The success of implementation will depend on the ability of governments to foster collaboration among all stakeholders — state and civil society, academia, industry, and national and international stakeholders. If all parties embrace the challenges of AI, Kenya will reap the benefits of a vibrant AI ecosystem,” says Winnie Karanu, Business Development and Program Manager at Microsoft.
Ethical use of AI
Along with the popularity of AI is an issue or controversy about its potential misuse in technological services. After all, developers and engineers are creating programs and algorithms so that machines can execute actions autonomously, do their own training and make decisions sans human intervention. Microsoft says that it is taking the issue seriously, and has even dedicated a section addressing ethical use of AI on its AI for Africa Whitepaper.
“Strathmore has always aimed to be at the forefront of issues that impact the country at large. Digital Transformation and AI are topics that need to be unpacked in a favourable space, bringing stakeholders, government officials, and policymakers together for knowledge sharing,” said Dr. Isaac Rutenberg, Director for Intellectual Property and Information Technology Law at Strathmore University.