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Last Week in AI #34

AI development in Africa, AI for astronomy, and more!

Last Week in AI #34

Image credit: InstaDeep

Mini Briefs

Africa Is Building an A.I. Industry That Doesn’t Look Like Silicon Valley

IndabaX, a series of AI conferences started by Afircan AI researchers and institutes in 2017, aims to:

build a vibrant, pan-African tech community — not through reinventing existing technologies, but by creating solutions tailored to the challenges facing the region: sprawling traffic, insurance claim payments, and drought patterns.

There is some tension in fostering a local AI and tech community against the backdrop of heavy investments from American and Chinese tech giants, with the fear that 1) these companies may exploit the African market for its data and 2) they may facilitate a brain drain that attracts talent away from the continent.

IndabaX, which quadrupled in size in the past 2 years, along with programs like Data Science Nigeria, which aims to train 1 million Nigerian engineers over the next 10 years, are making a difference.

Q&A: Paving A Path for AI in Physics Research

Brian Nord, an astrophysicist from Fermilab, is working on applying AI to astronomy, specifically to identify gravitational lenses from telescope images. Unlike typical computer vision tasks, image classification in astronomy is difficult due to the scarce amount of labeled data available.

Instead, the team is using simulated data to train a Neural Network for this task, although that presents its own set of challenges common to all deep learning apporaches, such as low model interpretability and lack of reliable uncertainty estimates.

In the future, Nord envisions AI-assisted science to become more prevalent, allowing scientists to spend less time on data crunching and more time on hypothesis generation, which is much harder for algorithms to do.

Advances & Business

Concerns & Hype

Analysis & Policy

  • EU guidelines on ethics in artificial intelligence: Context and implementation - This paper aims to shed some light on the ethical rules that are now recommended when designing, developing, deploying, implementing or using AI products and services in the EU. Moreover, it identifies some implementation challenges and presents possible further EU action ranging from soft law guidance to standardisation to legislation in the field of ethics and AI.

Expert Opinions & Discussion within the field

  • Can a Board Member’s Job Be Automated? - Continued advances in artificial intelligence, robotic process automation (RPA), and distributed ledger technology like blockchain could bring about a completely new way for the Board to exercise its responsibilities.


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