Report: SA and artificial intelligence

The potential impact of AI and generative AI across healthcare, education, financial inclusion and agriculture.

Johannesburg, 11 Oct 2023
New use cases for generative AI are emerging daily.
New use cases for generative AI are emerging daily.

Generative artificial intelligence (generative AI), though still in its early stages, is maturing fast and looks set to become one of the most important technologies of our time. It has already attracted strong interest and substantial investment. The launch of ChatGPT last year, with its underlying language-model AI technology, brought to public attention the power of generative AI technology. New use cases for generative AI are emerging daily.

Generative AI can leverage very large amounts of proprietary data and then support data-led decision-making. The commercial applications of these capabilities are very promising and are being pursued apace. This report, however, concentrates on the societal implications: it looks at the ways in which generative AI, together with AI more broadly, can address some of South Africa’s most pressing challenges, and discusses how AI can be responsibly harnessed to transform the lives of South African citizens.

The report explores four key areas where generative AI could play a transformative role: Healthcare, education, financial inclusion and agriculture. The aim is to examine some of the possibilities in each of these areas through various use cases, and also to discuss the risks associated with AI and the ideal environment for realising AI’s potential benefits. But first, we should define generative AI – especially in relation to AI in general – and sketch the current state of play.

Please download the report to learn more.