By Margaret Mwangi
Artificial intelligence that is popularly known as “AI’’is one of the topic that we had during the 2019 Kenya School of Internet Governance. The Artificial Intelligence technology is here to stay and no longer a thing of the past. What started as a research project on how AI works, has now become a global trend of transitioning from manual way of solving complex issues and especially those to do data entry and processing that is collected by big multinational companies such as Facebook, Huawei, and Safaricom . The components of AI are data, Algorithms, outputs, decisions, and training.
The use of AI has now become so important in sectors such as agriculture where drones are being used in monitoring the weather patterns, and gathering data. However there is a need to come up with policies and laws that help regulate AI. This data is later used in research work. Some Government organisations such as Kenya Bureau of Statistics collects data over a period of time to help in planning for infrastructure, health care services, and education among other areas. The use of AI while collecting data ensures that it is done on time, and it is factual in determining the population growth of citizens over a period of time. AI systems feeds on data.
Here in Kenya, companies such as Safaricom are using AI technology in engaging the youth. The AI application chatbox by Safaricom called ‘’Zuri’’ help customers perform a wide range of tasks. This could replace some customer care services roles that are normally conducted by people.
Zuri can be able to handle over 17 million Safaricom customers and is able to perform tasks like manage subscription services including viewing subscriptions and unsubscribing from chargeable SMS services. Zuri can handle other roles that includes the M-PESA reversals, buying bundles, airtime top up and checking M-PESA and airtime balances.
Safaricom was the first telecommunication company to create ZURI chatbot software that can simulate a conversation or a chat with a user in a natural language through messaging, websites, mobile apps or even through the phone.
A chatbot has often been described as one of the most advanced and promising expressions of interaction between humans and machines. That’s why they’re very important in the customer’s journey. In fact, according to Gartner, by 2020 chatbots will be handling no less than 85% of all customer service interactions, so this tells you how Safaricom’s Zuri and any other chatbot are important at this day and age.
Multinational companies such as IBM are now using AI for medical imaging known as Watson Health that is helping to create meaningful change in the health sector with over 15,000 clients and partners. Some of these health conditions would have been difficult to diagnose without the use of AI. The current statistics state that more than 295,000 patients have been affected by Watson Health. 99% of the data is recorded through artificial intelligence.
What we should know as digital technology users is that a lot is going to change in the coming years on how we shall be using AI in medicine, banking, and automobile sector and how AI shall be utilized in addressing complex issues.
AI technology has its own challenges and biases for instance, research has shown that Self-driving cars more likely to drive into black people. Another challenge could be that the older generation might find it hard to grasp the emerging technologies such as AI as the saying goes, ‘’It is difficult to change old people but can only convince them with working ideas.’’
Margaret Mwangi is a Media and communication Specialist who has gained experience in radio production, videography, photo editing and article writing the last 16 years. She has worked for both TV and Radio as a news reporter, a translator of news from English to Kiswahili, a radio producer, as a TV production assistant in various media houses which include Royal media services, Family media, Radio Mama 107.1 FM and GBS TV. She has also been a freelance writer for Association of Media Women in Kenya publications such as ‘’ The Dawn, Inuka, 86 And Counting’’ among other. She is currently a contributing writer and a photographer for Mkazi which is an online publication.
LinkedIn: Margaret Mwangi