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AI to generate $15.7tr to global economy by 2030 — Microsoft forecasts


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A multinational technology company, Microsoft on Thursday said that Artificial Intelligence (AI) had the potential to contribute up to USD15.7 trillion to global economy by 2030.

A Commercial Lawyer with Microsoft Africa, Theo Watson, made this known in his presentation, “AI Opportunity in Africa” at the African AI Journalists Academy via Microsoft Team.

While emphasising the opportunities AI could bring to Africa, Watson said that of the USD15.7 trillion AI could generate, USD1.2 trillion could be generated in Africa.

He noted that the USD1.2 trillion represented a 5.6 per cent increase in the continent’s GDP by 2030.

Watson, however, emphasised the need for responsible regulation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate its opportunities and reap its benefits.

According to him, as the world navigates this AI-powered future, our journey must be underpinned by responsible and sustainable innovation.

He said that this would ensure that the progress of AI in the nation remained aligned with human values and societal norms.

“Responsible and sustainable innovation will ensure that AI progress aligns with the needs that define Africa’s vastly diverse cultures.

“This involves a deep engagement with the continent’s unique challenges, recognising their complexity and prioritising those that AI can help solve.

“Also, collaborating with relevant stakeholders will be key to ensuring that AI solutions are not just technologically advanced but also culturally attuned and genuinely beneficial to Africa societies,’’ the lawyer said.

Watson stressed that building trust and security was key and Microsoft responsible AI journey started in 2016.

He said that the Microsoft AI journey was accompanied with its AI principles of fairness, rehabilitation and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability.

Also speaking during the webinar, Akua Gyekye, Government Affairs Director, Microsoft Africa, said the world was changing and industries are transforming rapidly and drivers of economic growth are evolving.

Gyekye said that technology was addressing socioeconomic delivery issues, such as health, education, agriculture among others, adding that the impact was real.

According to her, eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality in South Africa is leveraging AI to reduce water wastage and provide innovative water and sanitation service to its growing population.

“Farmers in Nigeria and Kenya are getting customised advice on farming based on AI, advice on soil and weather data.

“This helps them to make evidence- driven decisions and increase yields using technology to do the research and help find the right use of AI to boost productivity of their workforce,” she said.

Gyekye, however, highlighted some blueprint for governing AI that could accelerate opportunities in Africa, noting that this included promoting transparency and ensuring academic and public access to AI.

Gyekye also highlighted safety brakes for AI systems that control critical infrastructure, new public-private partnerships to use AI as an effective tool to address the inevitable societal challenges that come with new technology.

“Grounded in responsible regulation and collaborative partnerships, Africa can fully realise the opportunities presented by a future with AI.

”Microsoft believes that when you create powerful technologies, you also must ensure that the technology is developed and used responsibly,” the director said.



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