Google Africa Internet Academy to focus on AI for Africa

The Google logo is seen during the Google I/O annual developers conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on May 10, 2023. (Photo by Josh Edelson / AFP)

The University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Centre for Data and Digital Communication and the Artificial Institute of Intelligence, in collaboration with the UJ Business School (JBS) will host the fifth edition of Google Africa Internet Academy this year.

Taking place next week from 11 to 12 September, this annual event on the continent is a two-day workshop that brings together business and technology leaders from across Africa to discuss the latest trends in technology policy and regulation and provide valuable content and opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs and other target groups in technology and related fields.

Focus on AI

This year’s discussions will include Google’s focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and how AI works and what it does.

But most importantly, the workshops will examine what economic opportunities AI presents for the continent to enable current and future generations to live in a more prosperous, healthy, secure and sustainable world.

Or conversely, how can the spread of illegal and harmful content with unfair bias and abuse be curbed.

“The increased focus on artificial intelligence (AI) has fast-tracked the need for conversations between all stakeholders to look at the benefits of AI as well as the policy guardrails to mitigate risks,” says Google SA country director, Dr Alistair Mokoena.

Other topics include collection and use of personal information, people’s ability to understand and control how their data is used, as well as the impact of data-driven technologies on people and society.

Collaborative initiatives

“Our university has been at the cutting edge of technology and has, on many instances, been driving innovative advancements,” says UJ’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi.

“As a leading company in AI, Google’s strategy is closely aligned with UJ’s strategic objective of innovation for societal impact and sustainability. We are thrilled to be hosting the fifth edition of this event, and we hope it will provide valuable insights and opportunities in the field,” adds Mpedi.

“The University of Johannesburg’s pioneering work and agility in the fourth industrial revolution (4IR) space makes the institution a valuable partner for collaborative initiatives in this field. The Google Africa Internet Academy is one such collaboration, and we look forward to this event at UJ,” says Mokoena.

The first Google Africa Internet Academy was held at Wits University in 2016. Strathmore University in Mauritius and US International University (USIU-Africa) hosted the second and third events in 2017 and 2021, respectively.

The fourth was recently held in Kenya in May this year.

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