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OPINIONISTA: Artificial intelligence presents Africa with a development leapfrog opportunity

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Professor Tshilidzi Marwala is the outgoing vice-chancellor and principal of the University of Johannesburg, and on 1 March 2023, he will be the Rector of the United Nations (UN) University and UN under-secretary-general. He is the author of the upcoming book, 'Heal Our World'. He is on Twitter at @txm1971. I recently gave a talk in New York on the role of artificial intelligence (AI) technology in Africa's development and was reminded of Kwame Nkrumah, the former Ghanaian president who said "we shall accumulate machinery and establish steel works, iron foundries and factories… it is within the possibility of science and technology to make even the Sahara bloom into a vast field with verdant vegetation for agricultural and industrial developments." More than 60 years after Nkrumah made this speech, we are still battling to economically develop Africa.


Will Artificial Intelligence Place Trademarks On Life Support? – IP In Brief

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My co-authors were Christine Strutt of Von Seidels in Cape Town, South Africa and Francine Ward of the Law Office of Francine D. Ward, Palm Desert, California. The article published by INTA in its February 9, 2022, Bulletin, explains how artificial intelligence (AI) is replacing trademark's function in brand selection. Here is a summary of the article. Traditionally, trademarks were shortcuts, identifying and distinguished goods in the marketplace in response to a buyer's needs and self-selected criteria. Trademarks have also protected against human frailty by alleviating confusion, imitation, disparagement and misrepresentation. AI is altering a consumer's browsing, selection and purchasing process.


The AI Summit Series

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At a time when AI conferences were geared towards research & academia, the AI Summit launched in 2015; the first-ever conference & exhibition globally to explore what AI practically means for enterprises. Partnering with IBM Watson, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, PwC and Intel among many others, we took the world's business community by storm in London, San Francisco, Singapore, Cape Town, Tokyo and New York City. Now with six sold-out conferences and exhibitions running annually, a global media site and a members-only collaborative forum, The AI Summit Series brings together over 20,000 representatives from the world's leading organisations to engage in meaningful conversations on how to prepare for an AI-powered future.


Whales from space dataset, an annotated satellite image dataset of whales for training machine learning models - Scientific Data

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Monitoring whales in remote areas is important for their conservation; however, using traditional survey platforms (boat and plane) in such regions is logistically difficult. The use of very high-resolution satellite imagery to survey whales, particularly in remote locations, is gaining interest and momentum. However, the development of this emerging technology relies on accurate automated systems to detect whales, which are currently lacking. Such detection systems require access to an open source library containing examples of whales annotated in satellite images to train and test automatic detection systems. Here we present a dataset of 633 annotated whale objects, created by surveying 6,300 km2 of satellite imagery captured by various very high-resolution satellites (i.e. WorldView-3, WorldView-2, GeoEye-1 and Quickbird-2) in various regions across the globe (e.g. Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, United States, Mexico). The dataset covers four different species: southern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis), humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae), fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), and grey whale (Eschrichtius robustus).


Workshop – April 21-22: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Hospital Ethnographies – The Wenner-Gren Blog

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Organized by Divine Fuh, HUMA – Institute for Humanities in Africa at the University of Cape Town, South Africa and Fanny Chabrol, CEPED-IRD, France and funded by Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Wenner-Gren Foundation, this workshop is located within the framework of the project Future Hospitals: 4IR/AI and the Ethics of Care at HUMA – Institute for Humanities in Africa headed by Divine Fuh, and the "Hospital Multiple" at CEPED-IRD headed by Fanny Chabrol. The workshop aims at proposing new ethnographic methodological and conceptual tools to think and imagine the "hospital of the future" in Africa, in particular, the way artificial intelligence (AI) seeks to transform and is currently transforming access to health care in hospitals today and in the coming years. Our project aims to build a problematisation of the hospital of the future and an ethnographic method to critically analyse the ethical, regulatory, and political issues with respect to AI, healthcare, and hospitals on the continent. We consider the "hospital of the future" – through the digitalization and computer automation of healthcare – as a global promise that needs to be challenged by ethnographic methods within hospitals, engaging with persons interacting with them. The first line of inquiry will challenge the logic of adoption and Africa as a place where development policies are implemented, where infrastructure projects are developed, in which technological innovation, mainly coming from the West, is presented as the promise of better health for those in need.


AI ethics for children: digital natives on how to protect future generations

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Children and young people are growing up in an increasingly digital age, where technology pervades every aspect of their lives. From robotic toys and social media to the classroom and home, artificial intelligence (AI) is a ubiquitous part of daily life. It's vital therefore that ethical guidelines protect them and ensure they get the best from this emerging technology. Generation Z, who have grown up with AI, are uniquely placed to offer an insight into the potential issues of AI targeted at children and help create governance guidelines. With that in mind the World Economic Forum has set up the AI Youth Council, a global diverse group comprising young people interested in AI.


3 ways AI can help prevent AML compliance fines in 2022 - THETARAY

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2021 was another bumper year for fines slapped against financial institutions (FIs) for failures in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. AML shortcomings in transaction monitoring are a global problem. Countries whose banks were hit with fines include the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Latvia, France, the UAE, India, Malaysia, and South Africa.  Fines imposed on FIs by regulators could reach as high as $2 billion for a second year running when the final figures come in, according to estimates. The continuous vigilance of regulators should serve as a wake-up call for financial institutions worldwide to take stock in failures and take action to change the trend in 2022. Some guilty parties lacked an AML compliance culture or even engaged in outright fraud and corruption. Others turned a blind eye. For FIs investing in large and costly compliance teams and tools, it’s surely frustrating to be hit with fines of tens


African researchers aim to rescue languages that Western tech ignores

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Computers have become amazingly precise at translating spoken words to text messages and scouring huge troves of information for answers to complex questions. At least, that is, so long as you speak English or another of the world's dominant languages. But try talking to your phone in Yoruba, Igbo or any number of widely spoken African languages and you'll find glitches that can hinder access to information, trade, personal communications, customer service and other benefits of the global tech economy. "We are getting to the point where if a machine doesn't understand your language it will be like it never existed," said Vukosi Marivate, chief of data science at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, in a call to action before a December virtual gathering of the world's artificial intelligence researchers. American tech giants don't have a great track record of making their language technology work well outside the wealthiest markets, a problem that's also made it harder for them to detect dangerous misinformation on their platforms.


Software-Defined Cooking Using a Microwave Oven

Communications of the ACM

Despite widespread popularity, today's microwave ovens are limited in their cooking capabilities, given that they heat food blindly, resulting in a nonuniform and unpredictable heating distribution. We present software-defined cooking (SDC), a low-cost closed-loop microwave oven system that aims to heat food in a software-defined thermal trajectory. SDC achieves this through a novel high-resolution heat sensing and actuation system that uses microwave-safe components to augment existing microwaves. SDC first senses the thermal gradient by using arrays of neon lamps that are charged by the electromagnetic (EM) field a microwave produces. SDC then modifies the EM-field strength to desired levels by accurately moving food on a programmable turntable toward sensed hot and cold spots. To create a more skewed arbitrary thermal pattern, SDC further introduces two types of programmable accessories: A microwave shield and a susceptor. We design and implement one experimental test bed by modifying a commercial off-the-shelf microwave oven. Our evaluation shows that SDC can programmatically create temperature deltas at a resolution of 21 C with a spatial resolution of 3 cm without the programmable accessories, and 183 C with them. We further demonstrate how an SDC-enabled microwave can be enlisted to perform unexpected cooking tasks: Cooking meat and fat in bacon discriminatively and heating milk uniformly. Since the introduction of microwaves to the consumer market in the 1970s, they have seen widespread adoption and are today the third most popular domestic food heating method (after baking and grilling).13 Indeed, the original patents for the microwave by Raytheon Inc. in the late 1940s envisioned a universal food cooking instrument for all kinds of food ranging from meat to fish.1 While microwaves have revolutionized the kitchen since their inception, today's consumer microwaves are mainly used as blunt heating appliances (e.g., reheating pizzas) rather than precise cooking instruments (e.g., cooking steak).


The awkward grant of patents to artificial intelligence

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As exciting as all this might seem, this decision seems to be more of an aberration than the rule. Before it was finally granted a patent in South Africa, the DABUS application had been rejected by patent offices in the US, Europe and the UK. The European Patent Office (EPO), justifying its decision to reject the patent application, pointed out that the law designates a natural person as the inventor of a work in order to preserve her moral right over the invention as well as to secure for her the economic rights made available by the patent. In order to be entitled to these benefits, an inventor needs to have actually "performed the creative act of invention". While artificial intelligence algorithms today are capable of perform complex computational functions that are often way beyond the capability of humans, the EPO pointed out that in all these instances, the programs are doing little more than just following the broad instructions of the humans who designed them.