Morocco holds forum on challenges, opportunities of AI for Africa

The opportunities and challenges of technological innovations relating to artificial intelligence (AI) in Africa.

A Forum on Artificial Intelligence in Africa, organized by UNESCO and Mohamed VI Polytechnic University from 12 to 13 December in Benguérir (Morocco), will explore the opportunities and challenges of technological innovations relating to artificial intelligence (AI) in Africa.

AI is already present on the continent through incubators for technological innovation and, for example, applications that provide school support via smartphones or monitor the breathing of newborns in maternity wards.

Most of the African continent has mobile network coverage, despite significant disparities between countries, and the high rate of smartphone penetration has been followed by the development of many applications that facilitate everyday life be it with regard to health, education, culture or the environment.

But initiatives are still limited and, as everywhere else, they raise important ethical questions concerning the use of private data, freedom of expression and responsibility. Likewise, the societal impact of technologies that can replace human labour is an issue yet to be addressed.

These subjects will be at the heart of the two-day Forum organized with the support of Microsoft. The conference will be opened by Said Amzazi, Morocco’s Education Minister, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, and the President of the General Conference of UNESCO, Zohour Alaoui. It will bring together ministers, representatives of the private sector, experts, researchers and representatives of international and regional organizations, as well as NGOs and civil society actors from all parts of the world.

Through round tables and thematic sessions, the conference will examine ways in which artificial intelligence can serve as a lever for development, the future of AI in Africa and ethical issues for the continent.

Part of UNESCO’s ongoing reflection on AI, the Benguérir Forum is expected to enrich discussions ahead of the international conference on artificial intelligence that UNESCO is organizing for March next year.

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