Microsoft’s founder, Bill Gates, has said that African countries will need to leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) to address the current shortage of teachers and doctors on the continent.
Gates stated this on Tuesday while speaking at the sideline of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where AI is topping discussions. Gates said he is already funding pilot studies in Africa to bring to reality AI tutors and AI doctors.
While noting that developing countries are lagging in the utilization of technology, Gates said he is committed to making sure that the usual 20-year gap between the rich and the poor countries in adopting technology does not play out with AI.
The world will be richer with AI Gates declared that the world will become richer with AI, adding that the technology would AI raise productivity across sectors all over the world. According to him, the main driver of AI growth will be the competition between Microsoft and Google.
“It is so dramatic how AI improves white-collar productivity and later with robotics not yet but eventually blue-collar productivity. So that is phenomenal for the world. The world will be richer with AI.
“We have a huge commitment to make sure there’s not this normal 20-year lag between the rich versus developing countries. There’s a bigger teacher shortage in Africa than elsewhere, a bigger doctor shortage. And so not only will we invent new tools using AI like the ultrasound, we will provide health advice and directly, you know, in their local African language, fully tailored to the conditions in those countries.
“We will provide an AI doctor; we will provide an AI tutor and already we’ve funded lots of Africans to do pilot studies and to take the very best technology and get it out at about the same time, as they’ll happen in the rich world.
“In fact, in a few cases, rich world regulations may make it roll out slower than in countries like India or Africa. So, it’s a race, but it’s a race for good. And I couldn’t be more thrilled, you know it’s the case for my ongoing work with Microsoft. And it helps me understand how we take this into the developing countries,” Gates said.
The other side of AI while there have been concerns that several jobs may be lost to AI, Gates is more worried that the productivity value of the technology can also be used negatively. According to him, AI as a brilliant tool for people to be more productive “means the bad guys will be more productive so they can do more cyber attacks so they can design weapons.”
“The internet, the microprocessor all these things helped everybody to be more efficient, including the bad guys and so you’ve got to make sure that the best AI for cyber defense or measures to defend against bioterrorism are in the hands of the good guys and this is a challenge,” he said.