Morocco will host a forum on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Africa to examine challenges and opportunities of AI on the continent.
Rabat – UNESCO and Mohamed VI Polytechnic University will organize the Artificial Intelligence forum on December 12-13 in Benguerir, near Marrakech.
The forum aims to “explore the opportunities and challenges of technological innovations relating to artificial intelligence (AI) in Africa,” UNESCO wrote in a statement.
According to UNESCO, most African countries are equipped with mobile network coverage, “despite significant disparities between countries.”
“The high rate of smartphone penetration has been followed by the development of many applications that facilitate everyday life be it with regard to health, education, culture or the environment.”
In 2017, five Moroccan hospitals started integrating Sophia Genetics’ artificial intelligence programs into their clinics to help the identification of diseases causing mutations in patients’ genomic profiles. Sophia Genetics is a global leader in data-driven medicine.
In July, the global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which specializes in digital transformation, held a conference in Morocco on artificial intelligence algorithms.
The conference highlighted the powerful potential digitizing sectors of Morocco’s economy has, including agriculture, banking and tax, and the automotive sector.
For UNESCO, initiatives on AI are still limited and “they raise important ethical questions concerning the use of private data, freedom of expression and responsibility.”
‘AI replacing human capital’ issue
The organization emphasized the societal impact of AI which may replace human capital and disrupt the job market. An issue which will be addressed during the conference among others.
According to McKinsey & Company General Manager in Morocco Jalil Bensouda, AI “is an incredible opportunity that can generate many jobs. For a job destroyed, more than 100 will be created in return.”
AI is expected to create 2.3 million new jobs by 2020, according to Gartner.
However, “There is a real global shortage for specialized profiles in AI,” Bensouda said. “Data scientists, data engineers, and data architects are in great demand. Given the employment situation in Morocco, this sector can be an important source of work.”
With the support of Microsoft, the UNESCO’s two-day forum will discuss “ways in which artificial intelligence can serve as a lever for development, the future of AI in Africa and ethical issues for the continent.”
The event will gather ministers, experts, researchers, international and regional organizations representatives, NGOs, and civil society actors from around the world.