Artificial Intelligence News Updates 2020

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Government provides 4IR training opportunities

The Department of Communications and Digital Technologies is making progress in meeting its commitment to provide training opportunities for young people in fields such as robotics, data science and artificial intelligence. A total of 135 learners have completed a 12-month Data Science course, which is a partnership between the department and the Media Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICTSETA). The current partnership with MICTSETA emanates from a budget vote commitment we made in 2019/20 to train 1 000 unemployed youth in different Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) related skills as the country enters the digital era, amongst these being the success of the Data Science skills development programme we are celebrating today, said the Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams. Addressing the handover ceremony for the certificates on Tuesday in Pretoria, the Minister said the country needs Data Science skills to harness the power of data and come up with predictive models that will enable departments to mitigate risks, reduce costs, increase revenue, and optimise limited resources. The Presidential Commission on 4IR recently made its recommendations to the President on the adoption of 4IR technologies to improve the upward trajectory of our economy and country. Critical among those recommendations is to build human capacity in the areas of 4IR, including Data Science.This is exactly what we aimed to do with this pilot Data Science programme and other 4IR programmes, the Minister said. She encouraged the graduates to look at the impact that data has on people and societal problems. "...Always ensure that whatever you create is for the benefit of all and not just a select few. Beyond the data science skills that you have acquired, it is essential that you become well-versed in the business operations and processes of the industry that you will work in, the Minister said.

sep 15 2020 8:59pm
Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams hands over certificates to Data Science learners, 15 Sept

Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams will on Tuesday hand over certificates to learners who have completed a 12-month Data Science course.The course is a partnership between the department and the Media Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICTSETA).A total of 180 leaners have successfully completed the course. During the departments budget vote speech in Parliament last year, Ndabeni-Abrahams committed to ensuring that young people are given training opportunities in fields such as robotics, data science and artificial intelligence. This course is one of the initiatives aimed at fulfilling this objective. Executives of telecommunications will be in attendance to provide support and encouragement to the learners.Details of the event are as follows:Date: Tuesday 15 September 2020Venue: GCIS Tshedimosetso House Auditorium, Hatfield, PretoriaTime: 10h00The event will be streamed lived on government and MICTSETA social media pages.Enquiries:Mish MolakengSpokesperson for the Ministry of Communications and Digital TechnologiesCell: 082 469 3997Xabiso MatshikizaCommunications Manager MICTSETACell: 072 865 6866

sep 14 2020 9:56pm
event News : Govt
SA tech startup launches new recruitment platform for data scientists

A local tech startup synonymous as the first data science competition platform in Africa, Zindi , has launched a new recruitment platform. The recruitment platform was launched today at AI Expo Africa and aims to assist organisations around the world to connect with talented African data scientists. With access to a community of over 18 000 data scientists, Zindi's new recruitment platform will match companies and organisations with the right talent for the job at hand. Celina Lee, CEO of Zindi comments on the launch of the new online platform. Zindi has the largest community of data scientists in Africa, which makes us uniquely positioned to help organisations find the talent they are looking for. We are proud to be pioneering a data-driven, evidence-based approach to data science recruitment in Africa to ensure you get candidates with the proven skills you need. Zindi Founded in 2018, the tech startup received funding from private investors to launch and create its data science competition platform. The tech startup has been founded by Celina Lee, Megan Yates, and Ekow Duker. The launch of the new recruitment platform is aimed at bridging the gap between recruitment and organisations. The platform has been created due to various organisations who have worked with Zindi, expressing that they have not been able to find the right talent in Africa to meet their needs. Lee explains to Ventureburn that the main aim of Zindi is to address the high unemployment rates among the youth in South Africa while driving the use and education of artificial intelligence (AI). "We created Zindi because young people across Africa face critical challenges including high unemployment rates and scarcity of accessible opportunities to upskill in fields like data science, machine learning, and AI. We also noted that companies in Africa often did not know where to start in finding data science talent or how to adopt more data-driven practices. In a press statement, Zindi claims that 55% of their users are actively searching for their next professional opportunity. These users cover a wide range of data science skills and languages, and 75% have a bachelors degree or higher qualification. Zindi added that many of these users are new to the data science field, but approximately half of them boast more than a year of data science experience. "Zindi data scientists also have a demonstrated entrepreneurial, can-do mindset. More than 50% of our users are engaged in or thinking about creating a startup within the machine learning and AI space. This positions them uniquely as self-driven candidates keen to make a difference to the continent and to the organisation they are a part of, " said the local tech startup Nick Bradshaw, CEO of AI Media Group and co-founder of AI Expo Africa adds that Zindi is making a powerful impact for talented African data scientists. Zindis recruitment platform addresses the shortage of experienced data science talent faced by many organisations operating on the continent. With many organisations moving to become data-driven, the demand for these rare technical skills is increasing exponentially. This platform is set to make it easier for companies to recruit the best available African data scientists. Making an impact with Covid-19 Zindi has reportedly assisted several candidates with partnering organisation around the continent. This includes the recruitment of a data scientist for a Covid-19 response project held in the Democratic Republic of Congo for GSMA.

sep 8 2020 9:36pm
newsarticle News : Startups
Getting into the minds of bad tenants

New app uses neuroscience and artificial intelligence to help weed out unsuitable applicants

sep 7 2020 9:33pm
business News : Mixed
Max Tegmark interview: "AI can be the best thing ever for humanity"

Physicist Max Tegmark wants to make artificial intelligence work for everyone. Here he waxes lyrical about cosmology, consciousness and why AI is like fire

sep 5 2020 12:35pm
tech News : Technology
Cape Town-based tech startup secures $6-million funding

An award-winning AI manufacturing company and South African tech startup, DataProphet, has raised $6-million in funding. The innovative tech startup aims to utilise the funding to expand internationally. The $6-million in funding was achieved from a Series-A funding round with Knife Capital joined by the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa (IDC) and Norican Group , a leading foundry engineering and equipment company. This is not the first time that the innovative AI tech startup has received venture capital from Knife Capital. In 2018, DataProphet received venture capital funding from Knife Capital to boost its innovation capabilities. DataPropet aims to use the funding to strengthen and establish an international footprint and fast-track the strategy of growing with their strategic partners across various countries and industry verticals. Frans Cronje, CEO, and Co-Founder of DataProphet expands on the startup's plans to dive into the international market. South Africa will remain our engineering and operational hub as we have access to great talent. DataProphet however, is an international business, with hubs located around the world. This funding round will enable DataProphet to develop locally located sales and support for customers and partners across the world. Earlier this year a partnership between Norican and DataProphet was announced to accelerate the adoption of AI in the foundry industry. The partnership followed a number of joint innovation projects carried out with Norican brand DISA, one of the leading suppliers of green sand foundry technology. Anders Wilhjelm, CEO of Norican Group explains that the product created by DataProphet will enable manufacturers to create products more sustainably. Applying AI to the foundry industry will reduce energy consumption, increase yield, and reduce waste. What started as commercial cooperation with DataProphet, developed into a partnership, and now we will also become a shareholder. We know foundries and how they work, DataProphet knows AI, so we are truly excited about what DataProphet and we can achieve together. DataProphet Founded in 2014, DataProphet is a leader in artificial intelligence. Their innovative tech product enables manufacturers to utilise autonomous manufacturing and optimise their service offerings and production process. The tailored service proactively prescribes changes to plant control plans to continuously optimize production without the expert human analysis that is typically required. DataProphet has been recognised by numerous forums including the World Economic Forum as a Technology Pioneer in 2019, and CBInsights as 1 of the Top 100 AI Startups globally DataProphet is transforming from a South African startup to a global player. Supporting Manufacturers on their journey to augment the plant operators with clear holistic instruction from their data without building increased dependence on limited experts is a strategic rationale that has been reinforced by the effects of COVID-19. Through the application of our technology, every one of our clients has reduced non-quality products by more than 50%, adds Cronje. Read more: SA-owned LightWare receives $1.5-million investment

sep 5 2020 12:35pm
newsarticle News : Crowdfunding
Finalists selected for FCMB Agritech incubator pitch program

Six argitech startups have been selected as the finalists for the FCMB Argitech Epic Pitch program for 2020. Hosted and facilitated by First City Monument Bank (FCMB) held in partnership with the banks long term partner Passion Incubator , a Lagos-based early-stage incubator, and accelerator, the program aims to support early to growth-stage entrepreneurs to grow and scale their Agritech businesses. Kudzai Gumunyu, Divisional Head, Agric Business at FCMB explains that the initiative forms an integral part in supporting the growth and creation of innovative agritech companies in Nigeria. This initiative plays an important role in helping young and driven Nigerian entrepreneurs grow their Agric-focused business. This mission would eventually build investible, sustainable, and scalable AgriTech businesses that can contribute to the nations employment rate as well as the growth of the nations GDP. The program is focused on specific agriculture value chain solutions including; Processing/Production/Storage Agricultural Finance Agricultural Marketing Supply chain With a reported 2000 agritech startups from over 16 countries around the world applying for the prestigious program, it is the largest number of applications received since the inception of the initiative. The selected finalists Here are the six selected finalists Farmz2U : helping farmers farm better with tailored agricultural expertise using data and market access via system integrations. Beat Drone : implements drone input on the farm production process such as spraying precise chemicals, crop health assessment, and farmland mapping. ColdHubs : designs, installs, commissions and operates 100% solar-powered walk-in cold rooms branded as ColdHubs, in markets and farm clusters. The Hubs are used by smallholder farmers, retailers, and wholesalers, to store and preserve fresh fruits, vegetables, and other perishable foods 24/7, extending their shelf life from 2 days to 21 days. Tradebuza : digitizes commodities sourcing and trade for large agribusinesses who run out-grower schemes. We digitize their last-mile operations, including digitization of their smallholder and farmland profiles, farm activities, and post-harvest ops tracking. Farmspeak Technology : focuses on manufacturing IoT-powered hardware devices that work with web and mobile application using artificial intelligence(AI) to diagnose poultry diseases, monitor and regulate the poultry environment to help smallholder poultry farmer in Nigeria improve their farm management, reduce wastage and mortality, thereby increasing profitability in poultry farming. AgroHive : Africas first Agricultural HR startup deploying ICT in assisting over 1,000 agribusinesses tackle 1 of their biggest challenges, which is to have easy access to a consistent supply of skilled agricultural staff that will increase agribusiness productivity and profitability. The six selected argitech startups will pitch their business concept and model to a selected panel of judges for a chance to emerge winner and receive an equity-free grant of 1-million Nigerian naira. The 1st runner up wins 500 000 Nigerian naira. In addition, the selected winners will have access to workspace and networks for innovation and collaboration through Hub One. All of the finalists will pitch their concept to the following judges ; Kudzai Gumunyu , Divisional Head, Agric Business at FCMB ; Kola Masha , Managing Director at Babban Gona ; Yemi Keri , Co-founder at Rising Tide Africa and Rishi Raithatha , Insights Manager, AgriTech Programme at GSMA for a chance to be among the winners. The final will take place on 28 August with the top two startups selected winning their share of 1.5-million Nigeria Naira. Read more: New grant programme launches for SA small businesses

sep 5 2020 12:35pm
newsarticle News : Startups
artificial intelligence has POPIA implications

Rapid evolution in artificial intelligence (AI) applications, as well as improvements in computing power and the increasing availability of data, have led to significant growth in AI across most industries. The key developments in AI over the past few years have been driven by machine learning which, in turn, is fuelled by data. As more and more data is being gathered, so AI enables a more sophisticated analysis of large data volumes. As the importance of data rises, so do the associated legal issues. In some cases, businesses are free to use the data they hold for whatever purpose they want, including developing AI algorithms. However, there are many instances where they are not free to use the data. For example, if personal data is used to develop, train, or test AI algorithms, that processing will need to be fair and lawful and comply with data protection laws. In addition, if the data relates to a third party, it might be confidential or provided under a limited licence. Also, if third parties will have access to the data, that may complicate the data protection and confidentiality issues. It is of the utmost importance that AI is used responsibly. On a global scale, an important step to strengthen trust in AI has been the development of principles for the responsible development and deployment of AI, including accountability and transparency. One important aspect of ensuring responsible deployment of AI is legal and regulatory compliance. From a compliance perspective, businesses in South Africa will firstly need to ensure that their AI system is compliant with the Protection of Personal Information Act, 2013 (POPIA). Almost all of the remaining provisions of POPIA came into effect on 1 July 2020 . Various aspects of POPIA must be considered when creating an AI system. Of key importance for AI systems, given their inherent problem-solving ability, is section 71(1) of POPIA, which governs automated decision-making. This section protects data subjects from being subjected to a decision that is based solely on automated decision-making, which results in legal consequences for the data subject and the data subject being profiled. For instance, an AI system would have the ability to profile customers seeking a bank loan and determine their creditworthiness based on previous loan repayments, income, indebtedness, etc. Section 71(1) prohibits the bank from deciding to grant or reject the loan application based solely on the profile created by the AI system. In this particular example, however, the bank which is receiving the customer's loan application would need to determine whether it can rely on one of the exceptions to the prohibition on automated decision-making, which are set out in section 71(2) of POPIA. Businesses implementing an AI system should also be mindful of section 57(1)(a) of POPIA, which requires a responsible party to obtain prior authorisation from the Information Regulator if it intends to process any unique identifiers of data subjects: (i) for another purpose than intended at collection, and (ii) with the aim of linking the information with information processed by other responsible parties. In this instance, a "unique identifier" can be any identifier that uniquely identifies a data subject in relation to the responsible party such as, for example, an identification number or employee number. Section 57(1) will be relevant when, for example, an AI system deployed by Business A intends to combine the identity number of an employee with data collected by Business B to determine whether the employee is more susceptible to a certain work-related risk based on his or her age. In this instance, Business A would have to approach the Information Regulator before it could utilise the AI system. The responsible party must consider not only what information will be processed by the AI system but also how the AI system will use it, to ensure that all data protection compliance requirements have been met. In many instances, AI systems learn and become more intuitive by acquiring vast quantities of data. However, as mentioned above, organisations must proceed with caution when the data inadvertently contains personal information. Before feeding the data into the system, the organisation should consider whether the information can be input in a de-identified form, which would exclude it from the application of POPIA. If the information cannot be de-identified, it would be incumbent on the responsible party to ensure that data subjects are aware that their personal information is being used to test an AI system. If the data subjects originally provided their personal information to the organisation for the purposes of procuring a product or service, for example, then th

sep 5 2020 12:35pm
newsarticle News : Startups
AI Expo Africa 2020 kicks off on 3-4 September

will take place virtually and will be opened by South African Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams as she gives the keynote address. Other keynote speakers are: Kay Firth-Butterfield (Head of AI Machine Learning at the World Economic Forum) Neil Sahota (IBM Master Inventor, UN AI expert, and lecturer at the University of California) Fred Werner (Head of Strategic Engagement at the International Telecommunication Union), and many others. The event has drawn enterprise executives from Microsoft, ABSA, Oracle, Uipath, Standard Bank, Vodacom, and SAP. They will be joined by top entrepreneurs and thought leaders from FIRtech, Ashanti AI, FinChatBot, Genesys, WizzPass, Future Fragment, Zindi, etc. This is the third consecutive year of AI Expo Africa 2020 and is expected to host over 3000 members. Branded as the largest B2B trade focussed AI, artificial intelligence, and Data Science business conference in Africa, the 2020 edition will run from September 3rd to 4th, building upon the success of the 2018 and 2019 events. The event features over 1000 registered delegates, investors, decision-makers, suppliers, SMBs, innovators, and regional brands. This year's event will feature over 80 different speakers who will deliver 43 hours of talk across four tracks. In a press release, Roy Bannister the Director of AI Expo Africa 2020 who is also a co-founder of AI Media Group released a quote saying, "We are aiming for 1000-2000 registered delegates for the 2-day live show (3-4 September) and 5,000-10,000+ for the 30-day Re-Live show which runs thereafter. The Re-Live aspect of the show is a new feature for 2020 and will be a great learning experience for young engineers, schools, colleges, universities, and entrepreneurs." Book Tickets here Follow for more updates on Twitter , Facebook , Linkedin and YouTube . Share

sep 3 2020 9:40pm
newsarticle News : Startups
11 African AI startups take part in First artificial intelligence Accelerator Cohort from Ghana

, IBM, and Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. The chosen startups will take part in a structured 5-month accelerator program working closely with technical mentors from business development consultants and IBM to convert their AI ideas into viable solutions. The startups are leveraging on Machine Learning and AI to innovate operational solutions on healthcare, agriculture, financial freedom, transportation, and software development. Here are the shortlisted participants Rwanda Data systems, a startup that builds software as a service application targeting the corporate market ad edtech sector. Tabiri Analytics, cybersecurity working on the first affordable, comprehensive, and automatic cybersecurity as a service platform while relying on machine learning. The startup will target enterprises in underserved markets. Aqua Safi, a technology solution that improves the productivity of fish by advising the farmer on what best to feed the fish. South Africa Congretype Pty. Ltd, provides society-based solutions on ICT, renewable energy, and Climate Start Agriculture. OpenBanking, a safe, secure, and revolutionary way of consumers sharing financial information enabling them to make more money via credit approvals and real-time payments. Ghana Diagnosity, an AI startup that diagnoses skin diseases, giving the name, predicting severity, and assigning patients to the right dermatologist. Kwanso, a road traffic monitoring solution offering drivers, passengers and regulators, and an app for identifying the location of accidents and monitoring speed. Xpendly, A personal finance management app giving millennials an opportunity to sort out their finances, build their credit profiles, and financial activity while accessing financially tailored products that help in savings and investment. Uganda Chil AI uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide telehealth services, e-consultation, e-medical records, e-referral, auto lab results, e-pharmacy, and a lot more. Global Auto Systems, aims to revolutionize the healthcare system through AI and Cloud computing technology helping reduce patient outcomes and cost of care. Wekebere, social enterprise engineering innovative healthcare solutions for expectant mothers in low-resource settings. The program combines virtual and physical interfaces in the form of a Bootcamp and video meetups. All activities ensure the participating startups have the support to achieve growth through measurable targets. Africa AI Accelerator program is expected to be a major milestone for AI startups. Share

aug 25 2020 8:28am
newsarticle News : Startups