From virtual assistants to driverless cars, technology imitating human intelligence is on the rise. But at what ethical cost and how do boards future-proof their organisations in the face of rapid change? Earlier this year, a Japanese insurance company made headlines for doing something that company executives and directors around the world have been anticipating - and fearing - for years. Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance made 34 of its staff redundant and replaced them with artificial intelligence (AI) system IBM Watson. Japanese newspaper The Mainichi reported the company will be using Watson to determine payout amounts and check customer cases against their insurance contracts. Evidently, the future of AI is already here and technology has been changing the world at a dramatic pace.
University of Toronto graduate student Avishek "Joey" Bose, under the supervision of associate professor Parham Aarabi in the school's department of electrical and computer engineering, has created an algorithm that dynamically disrupts facial recognition systems. The project has privacy-related and even safety-related implications for systems that use so-called machine learning -- and for all of us whose data may be used in ways we don't realize. Major companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and Netflix are today leveraging machine learning. Financial trading firms and health care companies are using it, too -- as are smart car manufacturers. What is machine learning, anyway?
In Africa, like everywhere else in the world, artificial intelligence (AI) is moving up the agenda as companies, entrepreneurs and governments work out how to keep pace with the Fourth Industrial Revolution. While the continent has a long way to go when it comes to AI adoption, these technologies already play a prominent role in many individual organizations: Nigerian mobile-lending platform Carbon uses machine learning to evaluate credit applications, South African fashion retailers rely on algorithms to predict the next season's top sellers and Kenyan ride-hailing app Little has implemented AI to assess driver performance. For the continent to remain relevant on the global stage, it is not only vital that companies embrace AI, but also that local entrepreneurs have equity in these technologies. That said, building an AI-powered start-up in Africa comes with a unique set of challenges not experienced by entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, particularly in terms of raising capital, human resources and market receptiveness. Entrepreneur Vian Chinner has first-hand experience of both worlds.
According to TechSci Research report, "United States Artificial Intelligence Market, By Application, By Region, By End User Competition Forecast & Opportunities, 2011-2021", the artificial intelligence market in the US is projected to grow at a CAGR of 75% during 2016 - 2021 on account of growing artificial intelligence technology adoption in consumer electronic devices, research and developmental activities in healthcare industry, unmanned aerial vehicles, autonomous cars, etc. Moreover, venture capital investments in this sector, are in full swing, especially in the US. The country is witnessing numerous start-ups sprouting every year, backed by various angel investors and venture capitalists. Major venture capitalist active in the United States artificial intelligence market include Accel, General Catalyst Partners, GV, Work-Bench, Promus Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, Khosla Ventures, Samsung Electronics, Wipro Technologies, Samsung Global Innovation Centre, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Formation 8, among others. In 2015, western region of the United States dominated the artificial intelligence market of the country, on account of presence of major end users such as cyber security solution providers, healthcare institutes, government headquarters, etc., in the region.