News RAIN-Africa Workshop: Summary of Discussions

RAIN-Africa hosted it’s first workshop for the year 2022 on the theme “Responsible AI Applications in Africa”. We had the pleasure of hearing from three researchers from Ghana, Uganda and Burkina Faso.

Dr. Rose Nikibuule

Her research focuses on the application of AI and Data Science to solve problems in the developing world. She uses AI in Agriculture to help tackle the issue of pests and provide timely information to farmers regarding the weather. Another area she is working on is using AI and aiding devices to monitor the road network and traffic in Uganda to help in incident detection and congestion on the roads while at the same time putting the privacy of road users into consideration.

Dr. Nunoo-Mensah

He began by stressing why AI should be responsible. Some factors include integrity, equity, and social impact. He then touched on a responsible AI pipeline that involves Envisioning, Data gathering, Modeling and Deployment Stages respectively. Some of the projects he currently works on include the application of AI in the areas of health.  More specifically, this includes works on assistive video conferencing tool for the hearing and speech impaired, chronic kidney disease diagnose tools and others. He also spoke on other responsible AI tools, including TensorFlow Responsible AI Toolkit, CodeCarbon, GAMMA-FACET.

Dr. Malo

He showed how the growth of population is affecting the production and distribution of energy and the need to adopt AI. He then touched on how his researchers are using AI for electrical energy management and optimization in Burkina Faso. By obtaining historic data on energy consumption and usage trends, they are able to use AI to predict future energy demands and usage trends and patterns. A more perfect symbiosis of AI and fossil and renewable energy industries will lead to an increase yield, he added.

In the course of the question/answer section, panelists stressed the need for a centralized data repository, funding natural language processing (NLP) AI projects for indigenous African Dialects and strengthening collaboration among researchers.