Google Opens Africa Artificial Intelligence Lab In Ghana

Google AI
FILE PHOTO: Research support officer and PhD student Foaad Haddad works on his artificial intelligence project to train robots to autonomously carry out various tasks, at the Department of Artificial Intelligence in the Faculty of Information Communication Technology at the University of Malta in Msida, Malta February 8, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Darrin Zammit Lupi/File Photo)

Google's Artificial Intelligence (AI) Machine, TensorFlow, was used by a farmer in Tanzania to diagnose a disease affecting her cassava plant. The farmer gets a diagnosis and advises on how to manage her products to boost her production through her production.

TenseFlow is an app installed on a cellphone and it was outsourced by Google to help developers create solutions to real-world problems. According to John Quinn, an AI researcher, when people think of Artificial Intelligence, they most likely think of scenes from science fiction movies, but in reality, it applies to everyday life from virtual assistants to language translation on Google.

Google plans to lead as an "AI first" company and they plan to build research centers across the globe including countries like Tokyo, Zurich, New York, and Paris. Google launched its first center in Ghana's capital city Accra last week.

AI is applicable in many sectors including Agriculture, Health, and Education. According to Moustapha Cisse, the research scientist heading up Google's campaign in Africa, his team aims to provide developers with the necessary research needed to build products that can solve problems that Africa faces today.

He said that most of what they do in their research centers at Google and not just in Accra, they publish it and open-source code so that everybody can use it to build all sorts of things. Mr. Cisse used the app used by the Tanzanian farmer as an example of the type of product that his team plans to partner on with relevant institutions across many sectors.

He said that a team of Pennsylvania University and the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture using TensorFlow to build new artificial intelligence models that are deployed on phones to diagnose crop disease. He added that this wasn't done by the company but by people who use the tools they built.

He also said that when they do science, the results of their research, usually and hopefully, because it is of good quality, goes way further than they expect and they are hoping to see the same things happen in Accra and across Africa.

Cisse said that the newly launched center is directly engaged in researchers in the universities in Africa as they provide grants to those interested in the various fields of AI and they also give PH.D. scholarships.

The company also aids graduate programs in Machine Learning at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in South Africa.

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