If you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s chances are you watched a movie series titled the Terminator. The science-fiction action film depicted the use of robots and an artificial intelligence system.  Back then the idea of having a futuristic robot programmed with an agenda was just that- fiction.  Well, fast forward to today and the future of computers and related technology is quickly changing fiction to reality.  And A.I. short for Artificial Intelligence is what scientists are putting their next big bet on.

Artificial intelligence AI is also referred to as machine intelligence MI.  MI is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence, NI, displayed by humans and other animals. In computer science AI research is defined as the study of “intelligent agents” that is any device that perceives its environment and takes actions that maximize its chance of successfully achieving its goals. Equally, the term “artificial intelligence” is applied when a machine mimics “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as “learning” and “problem solving”

Artificial intelligence is meant to make machines act rationally just like a human being would but much more accurately and with better judgment decisions given various scenarios.  In the next 10 years, AI is anticipated to have dramatically changed the technological and workplace paradigms. It is expected that more self-driven cars will be developed, there will be better functional systems put into place in production and distribution businesses and there will be a huge automation for easy tasks. It is also feared that some jobs will be wiped out by artificial intelligence.

With this in mind the government of Kenya has set up a 10 member block chain and artificial intelligence taskforce that is mandated to publish a roadmap for distributed ledger and AI for the country for the next fifteen years. Their primary objective is to make Kenya a leader in job creation through the big four agenda. The roadmap developed by the task force will contextualize how the application of these technologies can be used in the areas of financial inclusion, cyber security, land tilting, election process, single digital identity and overall public service delivery.

To this regard, a whole lot of opportunities lie in Artificial Intelligence. As it is right now, AI has many applications in a myriad of industries, including finance, transportation and healthcare. It has been applied to object, face, speech and handwriting recognition; virtual reality and image processing; natural language processing, chat bots and translation; email spam filtering, robotics and data mining. In fact according to market intelligence firm, Tractica, the annual worldwide AI revenue will grow to $36.8 billion by 2025.

What can we expect?

In medicine…

In this day and age when people expect to get answers instantly, virtual assistants will enable patients to get answers in real time. Patients can ask medical questions and receive answers, get more information and reminders about taking medications, report information to physicians, and gain other medical support. Physicians can also take advantage of healthcare virtual assistants by tracking and following through with orders and making sure they are ordering the correct medication for patients.

In manufacturing…

In manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence will be used to predict failures so that companies can take action before the failure of a piece of equipment and reduce downtime.

In transport…

In transport, we are already benefiting here in Kenya with various taxi hailing apps changing the way we move from one place to the other saving on both time and money. This is expected to revolutionize to self-driving vehicles that will pick you up and drop you at your preferred destination without aid of a third party i.e. a driver.

In agriculture…

In agriculture, companies are developing and programming autonomous robots to handle essential agricultural tasks such as harvesting crops at a higher volume and faster pace than human laborer. They are also leveraging computer vision and deep-learning algorithms to process data captured by drones and/or software-based technology to monitor crop and soil health. Machine learning models are being developed to track and predict various environmental impacts on crop yield such as weather changes. Pests and diseases are also being highly monitored for prevention and elimination at a high rate.

With all these industries having Artificial Intelligence taking over, it is inevitable that we will have to take it up in our day to day operations at home, work and of course in leisure.

The future of A.I. is already with us, are you ready?


Karanja D.N.


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