Viewpoint: It takes a village to raise a bot

Read time 2min 10sec
Rise of artificial intelligence has led to launch of "social business" AccessAI.
Rise of artificial intelligence has led to launch of "social business" AccessAI.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is heating up, writes Ebrahim Dinat, COO of Ocular Technologies.

So much so that the topic has sprouted a "social business", called AccessAI, which states it exists "to accelerate the development and adoption of AI to improve businesses and society. Our main aim is to educate people and businesses about AI - to help senior decision-makers look beyond 'what is AI?' and provide intelligence and solutions that enable integration, move forward AI-related projects and lead to business growth."

This month, AccessAI released the first edition of its magazine, simply titled "AI Magazine". The inaugural publication focuses on intelligent assistants - which is right up our alley!

Featured in the magazine is Tobias Goebel, director of emerging technologies at our partner company, Aspect, who is quoted as saying: "We believe that building great chatbots is even more a function of good design than good technology. If you have a software engineer design a human-machine interface you get a functional and very logical bot ? but probably not one that works well for us flawed humans and our ambiguous use of human language.

"We see an emerging interest in liberal arts and humanities majors like writers, actors, psychologists, linguists, that bring creative talent to the table. It is time to move from STEM to STEAM and add the arts to the equation."

And, it is this quote from Goebel that I believe is something that should give South African learners with varying interests the understanding that robotics and the future of artificial intelligence lies in everyone's skills and abilities.

It truly will take an entire village to build and develop a functional bot with personality. And so, the wonderful career options that the future of artificial intelligence presents to learners in this country should be discussed comprehensively.

Bots and artificial intelligence should form part of the curriculum from foundation phase so that the various constituents of this technology are not alien, but form part of the conversation from an early age - an age when the imagination runs wild.

Platforms such as AccessAI are valuable in easing the disruption and generating excitement about the possibilities of AI.

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