Google has announced its latest AI model, Gemini 1.0, which appears to be one of the most capable artificial intelligence models. As Google figures…
/“The super cycle and the exponential trend that AI is bringing to real life is here, and we are just living it and going through it. However, if you would like to have your start-up and your business embedded with AI intelligence, make sure that you embed AI in your toolkit as soon as possible and be able to master the end-to-end chain.”
These words by Dr Sinda Ben Salem, deputy head of engineering at InstaDeep, reverberated through the halls of the AfricArena Tunisia Summit, setting the tone for a day filled with profound insights and discussions about the future of artificial intelligence in Africa.
In her keynote address at the City of Culture in Tunis, Dr Ben Salem explored the transformative potential of AI, emphasising not just its impact on the technological landscape but also its ability to shape the socio-economic fabric of the African continent.
Her presentation was not just a reflection of InstaDeep’s journey, but a rallying call to entrepreneurs, innovators, and businesses across Africa. She spoke about the need for proactive integration of AI technologies into various sectors.
“At InstaDeep, there was a lot of hard work, difficulties, and challenges, but also significant successes. The journey started ten years ago, and I joined InstaDeep almost five years ago,” she stated, painting a picture of the persistence and dedication that defined their path.
Dr. Ben Salem discussed the exponential growth of AI, emphasising three key pillars: the explosion of data, the evolution of more efficient compute systems, and the continuous improvement of AI models. She illustrated this growth, mentioning Moore’s law and the rapid advancements in hardware, all contributing to what she termed a “super cycle” in AI development.
“The future is not only about changing the world; it will change lives globally, in Africa, in Tunisia, and everywhere. We are at a pivotal moment where it is crucial to be proactive and look towards what is coming next,” she asserted, stressing the importance of staying ahead in the AI race.
Furthermore, Dr. Ben Salem tackled the limitations of current AI models, including their reliance on existing data, the challenges in handling real-world actions, and the need for more diverse applications beyond just text and images. She also touched upon decentralisation and the challenges faced by start-ups in Africa, including the scarcity of computing resources.
In response to questions from the audience, Dr. Ben Salem acknowledged the challenges faced by African start-ups in acquiring the necessary computing power but expressed optimism about the future, suggesting that collaborations and investments could bridge this gap.
Five key takeaways from Dr Sinda Ben Salem’s address
1. Investment in education and local talent
Dr. Ben Salem emphasised the importance of investing in education and nurturing local talent. Building educational initiatives, workshops, and mentorship programmes can empower young Africans to actively participate in the AI revolution, fostering a new generation of innovators.
2. Ethical development and inclusivity
Ethical AI development was a central theme. She stressed the need for building AI systems that are not only technologically advanced but also ethical and inclusive. Diverse voices and perspectives are crucial to avoid bias, ensuring these technologies benefit all communities.
3. Social impact and innovation
Dr. Ben Salem highlighted the potential of AI in addressing social challenges. By leveraging technologies, African countries can find innovative solutions in sectors like healthcare, agriculture, and environmental monitoring. AI-driven innovations can lead to improved living standards and sustainable development.
4. Promoting public-private partnerships
The need for increased public-private partnerships was underscored. Collaborating with governments and private organisations can provide start-ups with resources, funding, and infrastructure essential for research and development. These partnerships create a supportive ecosystem vital for AI technology growth in Africa.
5. Embracing adaptation and international collaboration
Dr. Ben Salem underscored the importance of adaptation and agility. African businesses and governments need to be open to change and embrace new technologies and methodologies. Additionally, engaging with the global AI community through international collaboration and knowledge exchange can foster innovation, ensuring Africa’s active participation in the global AI landscape.
- The AfricArena Tunisia Summit concludes at the City of Culture in Tunis on Thursday, 12 October 2023.