It is almost a year now since Google made public plans to set up an AI center in Africa. Well, that center is now up and running in Accra, Ghana.
Moustapha Cisse has been appointed by Google to head the AI center in Accra; a first of its kind across the entire planet. The center will be tasked on leveraging on AI to find solutions to socio-economic challenges facing Africa as a continent.
Some of the already identified application for AI is the diagnosis of crop diseases, analysis of satellite images and come up with intelligence for policymakers among others.
“Simply put, our goal is to advance the frontiers of this science so we expect to have scientific impact,” said Cisse. “We also expect collaborations with different institutions working on local challenges by applying the technology to agriculture, to health and to other areas where it can be useful beyond purely technical and foundational aspects of machine learning and AI.”
The Google AI center in Accra is reported to be currently manned by a team of experts drawn from 12 countries. During the announcement of intention to set up an AI center in Africa, Google also made it clear it was looking forward to partnering with local universities and research centers.
The center is also reported to be looking forward to partnering with policymakers within the local governments. As John Quinn, a research scientist at the Google AI Accra says, the success of the center rests on its ability to integrate with the community.
“We found that this really can flourish when it’s part of the community – universities, the government, and local organizations. Hopefully, we can bring people on board with people visiting. With the universities, there could be training opportunities, for example… so, it is early days, but we will make progress,” said Quinn.