The Development of AI in South


The Development of AI in South Africa

Technology has come a long way over the past twenty years.

The Development of AI in South


Artificial Intelligence (AI) for example, has become a major contributor to the success of some of the biggest businesses in the world. The technology has been in development since 2013 and it’s revolutionising the way we live, travel and do business.

When implemented correctly, AI can help to significantly boost social and economic growth. However, it also has its risks; especially when implemented into developing countries such as South Africa. Here, we’ll look at the development of AI in South Africa and how it compares to global AI development.

South Africa joins global AI community

In March 2018, City.AI, a global non-profit organisation, included SouthAfrica as a new member. It invited local AI practioners to attend its first ever AI event in Cape Town which ran on March 27th,2018.

The goal of this event was to encourage peers to share their actionable advice and insights on applied AI experience. There were also sessions on computer vision, natural language processing and machine learning. SouthAfrica’s involvement in the community opens it up to over 50 different communities spread across six different continents. It’s a huge opportunity forthe country to set itself up as a leader in AI.

Up and coming South African AI start-ups

The prevalence of AI in today’s marketplace can be seen in the number of South African AI start-ups. Some of the most prominent AI start-ups in the country include:

  • Xineoh
  • Aerobotics
  • DataProphet

Xineoh focuses on simplifying AI with machine learning. It uses pretty distinctive algorithms which are remarkably similar to those used by top players such as Netflix and Amazon.  It looks at user behaviour in order to determine potential purchasing behaviour and to provide bespoke information to target users.

Clevva is a particularly exciting AI start-up as it is focusing on developing AI which helps people to work more effectively, rather than replacing them with AI systems. Aerobotics focuses on drone technology which isused within the mining, agricultural and logistical industries. The drones are used to scan areas and provide essential data to help manage the sites more effectively.

Finally, Data Prophet is actually the first African machine learning specialist company and it focuses on providing AI solutions for businesses across the globe.   

Addressing the challenges AI presents

While South Africa is making huge steps in the AI industry, there aresome concernsand challenges which need to be addressed. The worry over unemployment is perhaps one of the largest concerns. So, ensuring AI doesn’t replace human jobs is a key issue for the South African economy.

Businesses looking to implement AI into their operations are also goingto need to ensure they have the right equipment. It’s expensive to implement advanced AI systems, so cost could also prove to be a barrier.

Overall, South Africa’s involvement in the City.AI program is a positive step forward and proof the country is fast catching up with global AI markets. However, key issues and challenges do need to be addressed to ensure its improvements within AI do not negatively impact its economy.