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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist


AI ‘here to make us better humans, not replace us’ – experts

Arthur Goldstuck reveals South African companies are slow to adopt AI, despite global technological advancements.


While there have been breakthrough developments in artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, research by ICT analyst Arthur Goldstuck has pointed to South African companies lagging behind in using it.

Sharing his research on how 100 companies used AI, Goldstuck told the Huawei ICT Editors Exchange conference that 45% of organisations were “planning on using it in future, while almost a quarter were already using it unofficially”.

But ICT experts are optimistic about what could soon be unlocked, with AI making inroads in South Africa – from image and data analysis enabling self-driving vehicles, to helping doctors speed up diagnosis and treatment for their patients.

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Giving a long-term view of the current boom in AI developments, Goldstuck said: “What we are seeing today with AI is the result of 75 years of thinking, research and exploration.”

Sectors like agriculture demonstrated “where AI has probably had the biggest impact on humanity” – with AI-enabled drones having led to improvements in crop health, combating pests and measuring soil conditions.

While there was uncertainty about how AI would impact jobs, Goldstuck maintained that AI was “there to make us better humans, not to replace us”.

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Huawei South Africa deputy CEO Charles Cheng said AI “will be the transformative technology of our times” – set to have “a positive impact in an economy like South Africa”.

Giving a preview of the AI capabilities developed, Calvin Huang, of Huawei South Africa’s cloud solutions, introduced the company’s Pangu model.

“Pangu can predict a typhoon’s path 10 days before it occurs,” while today’s methods only forecast up to two days.

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) farming technology

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