What is Artificial Intelligence?
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) is the ability of a computer program or machine to think and learn, they work on their own due to inbuilt encoded commands. That’s how John McCarthy came up with the name “Artificial Intelligence “in 1955. AI, sometimes called Machine Intelligence, has the end goal to empower machines to mimic and display the natural intelligence displayed by humans to carry out tasks and make decisions.
There are different types of Artificial Intelligence. These are the Reactive Machines, Limited Memory, Theory of Mind and Self-awareness. The technology is mainly fueled by very exciting sub-technologies; Machine Learning and Deep Learning.
Machine Learning focuses on developing computer programs that can access data and use it to learn for themselves, while Deep learning deals with the processing and usage of the data acquired for decision making (Like how the human brain works). These two technologies act as the lifeline on which Artificial intelligence exists.
AI has become a very hot topic globally and every nation is doing its best to catch up with its advancements. In Africa and Ghana as a whole, the state of learning and teaching artificial intelligence wasn’t encouraging till Google introduced the first-ever (AI) lab in Africa; Ghana to be precise.
Google AI and AI Research Labs
Google AI (formerly known as Google Research) is Google’s artificial intelligence research and development branch dedicated to the research and development of AI platforms and software that will facilitate AI applications. According to Google, the sole aim of Google AI is to conduct research that advances the state-of-the-art in the field, apply AI to products and to new domains, and to develop tools to ensure that everyone can access AI.
Numerous tools have come out of this venture such as TensorFlow, Google Auto ML Vision, DeepMind and Google Assistant. All of these tools have proven to be extremely useful to the world of AI with some such as TensorFlow becoming an industry standard.
TensorFlow, being the most acclaimed among the pack, is an open-source Machine Learning library that helps developers to develop and train Machine Learning (ML) Models. This tool has now become an integral part of the work of any AI developer due to how it has made the development of ML-powered applications easy and time-efficient.
AI Research Labs
Just like how they did with Android, Google wants to position itself as an industry leader (which I think is a good step) in AI. This was made clear in a recent announcement stating that they have planned to position themselves as an AI-first company.
They plan to achieve that by building research centers across the globe in places such as Tokyo, Zurich, New York, and Paris. Ghana recently became one of the beneficiaries by receiving one of such centers from Google in Accra.
Headed by Muostapha Cisse, a Senegalese AI expert, this was the first AI lab to be opened and operated in Africa, with the aim of providing the facility that will give professionals here the platform needed to properly explore AI. This was because, the major Artificial Intelligence experts and organizations are mostly based in North America, Europe, and Asia.
This was a huge first step taken by the tech giant to support researchers with the tools and environment necessary to develop and manipulate research knowledge within Africa, starting from Ghana.
One sure question that popped up on the minds of most people after Jeff Dean (the Google AI and Google Brain team lead) announced Google’s AI Lab plans in Accra was, “Why Ghana?”
That was a potent question since there are countries in Africa that are more advanced in terms of technology such as South Africa, Egypt, Uganda, and Nigeria. However, Google was looking at different factors. according to Jeff Dean, Ghana was chosen due to its robust network of academic institutions as well as infrastructure. Ghana arguably has a good number of some of the prime educational institutions in Africa. This factor was a very defining one as far as the AI research lab is concerned.
Other factors included Ghana’s relative stability in terms of electricity, security and internet infrastructure. Whilst we cannot completely decipher the reason behind Google choosing Ghana, the reasons stated above are good enough.
How DWTA Is Charting The Course Alongside Google.
Despite the above, there is still work to be done. This is because for the lab to be useful to us, we need to have skilled professionals in the AI field to harness the power of the lab and turn it into useful solutions.
Sadly enough, the adoption of AI in Ghana, especially by the education sector is very low, as most Information Technology schools don’t teach (or do not teach it well to meet industry standards) the course. This brings us to DevWorld Tech Academy (DWTA), one of the very few schools here in Ghana that teaches world-class, practical and project-oriented courses on Artificial Intelligence.
The best thing about DWTA is that we do not just teach theory and award certificates. Rather, we teach practical skills alongside hand-on projects that ensure our students actually know what they are doing
DWTA offers a wide range of programs on the latest and useful technologies, thus making sure the human resource we have in this country also get the necessary skills they need to solve new problems.
Some of the programs offered are:
- Artificial Intelligence, Data Science & Cloud Computing Game
- Software, Mobile & Web Development
- Digital, Graphic & Product Design
- Cyber-Security & Computer Ethics
Under the faculty of Artificial Intelligence, there are study programs like ;
- Applied Data Science with Python,
- Big Data
- Cloud Computing
- Introduction to Google Cloud Technology
- Algorithms and Algorithms for Battery Management Systems
- Data Structures and Algorithms
- AI Foundations and Deep Learning
- Machine Learning
- Data Science with Python (Intro, Applied, Advanced)
- Big Data, Data Insights, Data Engineering and Machine Learning on Google Cloud Platform
- Cloud Computing, Data Insights, Data Engineering, Machine Learning with Tensor Flow and Developing Applications with Google Cloud (all on Google Cloud Platform)
The best thing about DWTA is that we do not just teach theory and award certificates. Rather, we teach practical skills alongside hand-on projects that ensure our students actually know what they are doing. If you are finding it difficult to find the right IT school for your ward or yourself as a student look no further than DevWorld Tech Academy.
Artificial intelligence, if properly harnessed in Ghana and Africa as a whole, will be immensely helpful to the economy as well as human resources. From the problems we face in our agricultural sector to the health sector, even to the educational sector and all the sectors in between, can be effectively tackled and solved by the application of artificial intelligence.
This is one of the key reasons why DWTA has introduced the course to train up capable, highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals who will leverage the platform given to us by Google to create solutions and refine existing ones to address the many problems we are facing.
As already stated, from problems we are facing in our agriculture industry (pest control, fertilizer application issues) to our health sector, the finance, and even education, AI can be deployed to find solutions to those problems. This if done, will boost the economy by creating employment for the youth, cutting out some costs among other benefits.
DevWorld Tech Academy is situated in Ashaley Botwe — school junction, Accra with a conducive teaching and learning environment. DWTA has qualified and experienced teaching staff who practice what they teach. This enables them to teach the students effectively with hands-on practical projects on what is actually working in a real-life setting. Click here to visit their website and learn more about us.
How AI Is Shaping The Future
While AI is still some miles away from the conscious machines portrayed in the various science fiction movies we watch, the creation of algorithms that can learn, understand language and mimic some aspects of the human mind have led to huge advances. Today AI is being used in hundreds of different industries, from business to education to healthcare to communication and even transportation to make processes easier, faster and smarter.
These are just some of the ways in which AI is changing certain aspects of our lives for good:
In The Finance Sector
- Banks are using it to detect frauds and also predict changes in the stock markets. If you are in the financial sector, you will understand how huge this is.
- Insurance companies are employing AI to help them produce policy quotes and assess claims.
- Companies are using AI-powered systems to find and recruit the right people for their companies with spine chilling precision
In The Health Sector
- Machines with the capability to identify images are helping doctors spot diseases and getting insight on how to tackle them
- AI has empowered whole new branches in medicine, one being Precision Medicine. Precision medicine allows doctors to treat people with a more individualized approach, enabling them to find better ways of treating a patient’s unique medical condition.
- AI is helping surgeons to carry out surgical procedures with bang-on precision.
In The Transportation Sector
- Algorithms are using machine learning to help self-driving cars to navigate our complex roads, drastically reducing cases of accidents.
- Even on flights, AI is being used by air traffic controllers to keep us safe both in the air and on the ground.
- Drone taxis are being created and powered by AI to combat carbon emissions, deal with traffic and reduce the building of expensive infrastructure.
Obviously, there are a lot more points that I have not included, for the sake of this article. However, one thing for sure is that artificial intelligence has the potential to completely revolutionize life on Earth (for the better, obviously) and all we can do is to keep our fingers crossed and anticipate!