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Vukosi Marivate from University of Pretoria on Africa’s position in AI

December 10, 2019
Play video by Vukosi Marivate, University of Pretoria, CSIR, Deep Learning Indaba  at the workshop “Toward a Network of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence for Development (AI4D) in sub-Saharan Africa”, Nairobi, Kenya, April 2019

What are you working on at the moment?

I am doctor Vukosi Marivate. I am a chair of data science at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and I am also here representing Deep Learning Indaba. My work mostly is involved in machine learning and natural language processing as well as how we use data science for society.

How do you perceive development and Artificial Intelligence?

I see AI as being a tool that we can use in society, so not restricting it for development and on the continent, I believe that we all have our own challenges, doesn’t matter where you are and how can we use AI as one of the tools that could be used to improve the lives of Africans. If we start from there all the other things follow.

What is your blue sky project in Africa?

As Africa, I think we are in an interesting position when we’re trying to look at AI and how it can be used. One of the things that become important is also demystifying it for the public and decision-makers. I think the blue sky is how do we get AI to be interpretable and transparent. That’s one big part, there should be more work done in that. It’s great having very accurate models or high accuracy, low error, but how then does somebody else interpret what is going on and understand it. Because I think that is where a lot of the bias creeps in is, things are used without them being understood of why they are working the way that they work.

How do you feel about the workshop?

The workshop has been great, its been really meeting with a lot of great minds from across the continent and beyond. I am looking forward to seeing what we do with the network after this.

Short one-liner if you have one?

Okay. For what? For the workshop? Just a slogan. Oh, we said we need to capacitate AI strength on the African continent through our communities.