Google has opened its first artificial intelligence laboratory in Ghana

When people think of artificial intelligence, they mostly think of scenes from science fiction movies, but in reality, it applies to everyday life from virtual assistants to language translation on Google, says John Quinn, an AI researcher.

Google will now position itself as an "AI First" company and with research centers around the world in places like Tokyo, Zurich, New York and Paris.

And last week, the technology company opened its first center in Africa in Ghana's capital Accra.

Benefits of AI

AI can be used in sectors such as agriculture, health and education, and research scientist Moustapha Cisse leads up Google's AI efforts in Africa, says the team's goal is to provide developers with the necessary survey needed to build products that can solve problems that Africa is facing today.

  Moustapha Cisse, the African leadership on Google AI.

"Most of what we do in our research sites on Google and not just in Accra, we publish it and open source, so anyone can use it to build all sorts of things," he said.

Cisse mentioned the app that was used by the Tanzanian farmer, to diagnose her cassava disease as an example of the type of product his team plans to cooperate with relevant institutes across different sectors.

"A team of Pennsylvania University and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture using TensorFlow to build ne w artificial intelligence models distributed on phones to diagnose reading disease.

" This was not done by us but by people who use the tools we built.

? When we do science, the results of our research, usually and hopefully, because it is of good quality, goes far beyond what we expect, and we hope to see the same things happening here in Accra and across Africa, Cisse says.

Cisse, an expert from Senegal, says center directly engaged with researchers in African universities by granting scholarships to those interested in the various fields of AI and providing Ph.D. scholarship.

He added that Google also supports upgrade programs in Machine Learning at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa.

Cisse leads a team of nine others who include researchers and software engineers. Team members come from nine different countries including Lesotho, Uganda and Ireland.

It's a diverse team, and Cisse says it's important that Africans are at the forefront of offering solutions to problems on their continent. [19659012] Google sorry "small error" that sent the Ghanaian currency submerged "data-src-mini =" // "data- src-xsmall = "//" data-src-small = " cnnnext / dam / assets / 190321125505-ghana-cedi-large-169.jpg "data-src-medium =" // "data-src-large =" // "data-src-full16x9 =" // /dam/assets/190321125505-ghana-cedi-full-169.jpg "data-src-mini1x1 =" // " data-demand-load = "not-loaded" data-eq-pts = "mini: 0, xsmall: 221, small: 308, medium: 461, large: 781" src = "data: image / gif; base64, R0lGODlhEAAJAJEAAAAAAP /////// wAAACH5BAEAAAIALAAAAAAQAAkAAAIKlI + py + 0Po5yUFQA7 "/>

[19659016] The Center will also focus on improving Google Translate's ability to capture African languages ​​more accurately, with Cisse saying a continent with more than 2,000 dialects deserves to be better served.

Google joins Facebook and other technology companies, launching projects in Africa with a keen eye on the continent's growing youth population.

Algorithmic bias

Nevertheless, Silicon Valley companies are still struggling with diversity. A recent CNNBusiness report shows that many employees will have real change from their companies after years of paying lip service to the problem.

Because AI works fundamentally based on the data input in it, it sometimes shows a real bias that is not inclusive and representative of all end users, says Nyalleng Moorosi, a software engineer at the center whose work focuses

  Nyalleng Moorosi, software engineer at Google AI
Not long after its launch in 2015, Google Photos tagged images of black people as "gorillas" drawing criticism and leaving the company scrambling to fix problem.

Moorosi who comes from Lesotho and holds a bachelor's degree from a liberal arts college says her background means she sees the problem as a human problem that needs to be solved by diversifying samples used to collect data.

She said several Africans would join the data collection to provide an accurate representation of users.

"When you build something, you think it will only work for the workplace I know you and your neighborhood. And you forget that maybe it can be so great that it is distributed to foreign neighborhoods," says Moorosi.

"The The best way to go about is to have different teams working on these algorithms, and then we get to a place. "[19659002]

Privacy concerns

AI works because many personal information is input into it, and so comes privacy concerns over what's happening with the data people hand over to a big company like Google

Cisse says Google's AI principles intend to build trust between those who make technology and end-users, and technology should be in line with community values "We must build an algorithm that is fair and respects the privacy of the user and is transparent," he says.

With the center now operational after a few months after the plan, Google's efforts at AI, which has a transformational effect in Africa, will now be tested.

Continent is waiting.

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