Google has opened its first Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab on the African continent, choosing Ghana to host its first research lab focused on solving socioeconomic, political and environmental issues specific to the continent.
Already established on North America, Europe and Asia, Google’s artificial intelligence research program is now being rolled out in Africa: Ghana and Google have cooperated to open the first African AI laboratory.
The aim of this lab will be to use AI technology to tackle specific African issues. “Africa has many challenges where the use of AI could be beneficial, sometimes even more than in other places,” said Moustapha Cisse, Google’s director of AI, who is based in Accra, during the opening ceremony. According to Google, the lab’s mission will include working on issues related to health, education, and agriculture with a team of specialist engineers, local organizations and policy makers.
Take the app “PlantMD” for example, created this year thanks to an open source machine learning library called Tensorflow by Google. This app lets you detect diseases in plants, in order to help farmers better identify and contain the spread diseases more quickly. Farmers can now wave their phones in front of a leaf and if a plant had a disease, the app can identify it and provide options on the best ways to manage it.
The African continent is clearly a priority for the GAFA, seduced by the possibilities that this growing market can offer. By 2050, the African population will reached 2.5 billion people, most of them will be young people, attracted by new technologies. Google has the foresight not to miss the opportunity.