Africa in gleam of AI

The internet has provided invaluable opportunities for realizing children’s fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to education, freedom of expression, and freedom of association, among others. Meaningful access to digital technologies can support children to realize the full range of their civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights. However, if digital inclusion is not achieved, existing inequalities are likely to increase, and new ones may arise.

Defining the precise object of regulation in dynamic technological domains is a challenge in itself. As there is no legal and political consensus over what AI is, a plurality of definitions has emerged in Europe and worldwide that are either too inclusive or too sectorspecific. This fragmented conceptual landscape may prevent the immediate development of National law and possibly undermine all efforts to create a common legal nomenclature, which is particularly instrumental for the drafting, adoption and effective implementation of binding legal norms. Alternatively, a broad and technology-neutral definition that is based on the fulfillment of a variety of structural criteria, including the level of autonomy and the function, may be a more plausible option. The problem of definitional ambiguity is closely associated with the issue of AI’s legal classification and the categorization of its various applications.

The development in Artificial intelligence (AI), have the potential to disrupt and transform socioeconomic activities across industries. While evidence is emerging that business and governments across the worlds are positioning themselves to maximize theses potentials, evidence also indicates that developed countries are better prepared to reap the benefit. Therefore, we posit that countries in the developing world’s such as Africa need to tackle governance issues and lack of institutional capacity to establish the building blocks to allow AI to flourish. It is important to also examine the roles of international communities in bridging the technological gap in Africa by adopting a problem driven approach where local needs and problems are contextualized into AI policy formulation.  Should AI products and systems be approached under the umbrella of traditional legal categories, or are we simply experiencing the gradual creation of an entirely new domain of critical legal thinking that may trigger a shift from the traditional notion of code as law to a novel conceptualization of law as code?

In order to instrumentalist these product Ethiopia through Ministry of Innovation and Technology and National Artificial Intelligence institute is currently in the finalization stage to develop on National Policy document on AI, the policy implementation would benefit the overall society bringing ethical and responsible utilization of technology. Yes AI, is an instrument in realizing development by solving increasing productivity through saving time and energy, however the current digitalization campaign of world tech industries seems underestimates the potential of AI to affect children particularly first generation internet users within the family tree.

These year African Union has made a priority area of mainstreaming by putting its annual celebration of Day of African Children (DAC) which is periodically celebrated every 16th of june every year for the last 33 years and this year’s theme is “The Rights of the Child in the digital environment”. The commemoration aims to ensure the protection and promotion of children’s rights in the digital environment and re-evaluate opportunities to eliminate harmful practices affecting children in the digital environment effectively.

In Ethiopia, one of the most significant effects of the digital divide is limited access to education. Approximately 39% of adult Ethiopians can read and a mere 95.1% of school-aged children actually attend school full-time. Lack of access to the internet still remains a primary challenge for children from poor households, those living in rural areas, and with disabilities to meaningfully participate in the digital sphere.

The globalized approach of AI using the already existing applications within our devise to blend in and slowly but surely will take over people’s ability to operate as a being. In cognizant to the fact those nations are seen mobilizing resource and knowledge to minimize the undesirable impact of the platform and ensure children protection through developing policies.  Ethiopia is no exception to the impact that is expected to be drooped by the tech joints and service providers, currently Ethiopia people internet users are growing in 13 % annually, according to Ethio telecom, 40% of African have access to the internet today compared to 87% in Europe and 95% in North America. African Countries have an important role to play in tackling issues related connectivity and data access. Without reliable infrastructure, affordable data plans, access to technology, Africa’s digital divide will only be exacerbated by AI.

Ethical considerations

When considering factors impacting on adherence to AI ethics policy, both the context within which policies are formulated and the context in which they are to be functionalized are relevant for very practical reasons. However, the greatest danger due to the rapid changing nature of the technology the impact that it create to the next generation is high than today.

More than in any other culture perhaps, African ethics is deeply seated in the societal beliefs about what is morally right and wrong on the one hand, and in the behavior society deems appropriate to bring about social justice and harmony. Unarguably, the effect of the digital environment on children needs to be considered in the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Internet access also presents risks and challenges to children’s rights. Access to the internet poses a more significant risk of children being susceptible to sexual exploitation online.

I argue that the road to responsible AI ethics in Africa should be paved by regulations driven by epistemic just and dynamic AI ethics systems, rather than only by good intentions. Not only does Africa need dynamic and adaptive AI ethics systems as critical enabler of progress in fast-moving AI technologies, but it also needs such systems to ensure Africa is included and their contribution understood.

A strict and efficient guiding ethical framework for the development, design, production and use of algorithms is therefore needed. The guiding ethical framework, which should safeguard human oversight over automated and algorithmic decision-making, should be based on the principles and values enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, such as human dignity, equality, justice and equity, non-discrimination, informed consent, private and family life and data protection, as well as on other underlying principles and values of Union law, such as non-stigmatization, transparency, autonomy, individual responsibility and social responsibility, and on existing ethical practices and codes.

Succinctly, the goals of the sound AI policy engagement require a fourfold approach; First, to develop and share best-practice methods and approaches in the research, development, testing and fielding of AI technologies; Second, to advance public understanding of AI across varied constituencies, including on core technologies, potential benefits and costs; Third, to provide an open and inclusive platform for discussion and engagement on the future of AI, and to ensure that key stakeholders have the knowledge, resources and overall capacity to participate fully in these important conversations; and Fourth, to identify and foster aspiration efforts in AI for socially benevolent applications.

The fastchanging nature of AI technologies means that regulation always seems out of step. I thus plead for the acknowledgement of the dynamic role of AI ethics to alert humanity to possible harm from AI technologies and to flag where legal protection is needed. AI ethics as a system that has its ear to the real world perhaps more immediately and intimately than International Law does seem eminently suited for this role. Of course the general debate about the priority of ethics versus the law is complex one, and I regret that I cannot do more here than just place a stake for AI ethics in this debate.

Finally, before concluding this article let me share with you the new breed AI applications that are applicable with a Smartphone.

  1. Google Assistant: Google’s AI-powered virtual assistant that can help with tasks, answer questions, and control other apps and devices.
  2. Amazon Alexa: An AI assistant developed by Amazon, accessible through smart speakers and various devices, capable of performing tasks and answering questions.
  3. Siri: Apple’s AI assistant that comes built-in on iPhones, iPads, and Macs, allowing users to perform tasks and get information using voice commands.
  4. Cortana: Microsoft’s AI assistant integrated into Windows operating systems, providing voice-activated assistance and information.
  5. IBM Watson: A powerful AI platform that offers numerous applications and services across various industries, including healthcare, finance, and more.
    6. Duolingo: A language learning app that utilizes AI algorithms to personalize the learning experience.
  6. SwiftKey: An AI-powered keyboard app that predicts and suggests words or phrases.
  7. Prisma: Uses AI to transform photos into artistic masterpieces using various artistic styles.
  8. Pandora: An app that uses AI algorithms to personalize music recommendations based on user preferences.
  9. Spotify: Leverages AI to recommend personalized music playlists and discover new songs based on user preferences. The “best” app depends on specific needs or interests, so it is advisable to try out different options and see which one aligns best with your requirements.




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