The swell in the adoption of artificial intelligence solutions will see global artificial intelligence spending surge by 120% and hit $110bn by 2024 according to BuyShares.co.nz. The year 2019 witnessed a $37.5bn worth of investments into AI business solutions, a 650% jump in four years. Increased investments in AI technology continued in 2020, with organizations expected to invest $50.1bn in AI systems, despite the COVID-19 crisis.
The leading use cases for AI in 2020 were automated customer service, sales process automation, automated threat intelligence and prevention, and IT automation. Banks are expected to keep investing in AI-driven fraud prevention. Discrete manufacturing, process manufacturing, and healthcare round out the top five industries for AI spending this year.
Businesses across the world use AI technology to be innovative and scalable. Africa must position itself to leverage on its own operational data for more intelligent decision making, which is the means by which data converts into business value. The continent must consider a strategy which combines a Cloud-based IT infrastructure with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to deliver more precise, adaptive, and intelligent decisions. Failure to ride on this wave will likely see Africa at the bottom rung of the industry of the future as nimble competitors find new ways of disrupting the industry status quo. Today, it is not collecting data but what we do with the data that creates true business value. Countries that leverage data best — especially those who rely on smarter algorithms for intelligent automation — will assume the lead positions in their regions. Africa needs to invest in research and raise a critical mass of tech savvy innovators across all disciplines who will help create an Africa AI and Internet of Things that can support the region’s human goals, but also be constrained by the region’s human values.