Interest in AI hits all-time high in Kenya, report says

Tuesday, September 19th, 2023 08:20 | By
Interest in AI hits all-time high in Kenya, report says
Artificial Intelligence technology. PHOTO/Courtesy

Search for information related to Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Kenya has so far hit an all-time high in 2023 as the technology continues to penetrate the market to improve business productivity and customer experiences.

Google says interest in AI-related information has risen by 270 per cent since last year and by 400 per cent over the past five years, with many Kenyans seeking to understand more about the technology.

Notably, searches for “How to use artificial intelligence? (+350pc), “What is an AI?” (+300pc), “How AI works” (+200pc), and “How to make artificial intelligence” (+200pc) are top trends, pointing to growing popularity. AI, which combs through chunks of raw data to understand patterns and make predictions, is already used in various tasks in content creation, security, learning, digital marketing, and financial trading programmes.

This has triggered a drastic rise in tools and apps built on AI models as part of cost-cutting measures and improve users’ experiences while riding on the rising digital economy in countries like Kenya.

Given this economic potential, Google, which also released its conversational chatbot Bard in Kenya in March and its Swahili version in July, says there is a need to have regulation of AI to ensure responsible adoption. Google’s East Africa Director Agnes Gathaiya says the tech giant is committed to working with Kenya to maximise the potential of AI technology while minimising its abuse.

Transformational technology

She says it’s great to see people in Kenya showing such a keen interest in the transformational technology that is AI, adding that people in Africa and across the world are already using and benefiting from responsibly developed AI-based tools every day.

“But the speed of technological advancement is accelerating, and while it’s exhilarating to see these breakthroughs, it’s important that we get it right here in Kenya,” adds Gathaiya.

For instance, ChatGPT, another AI application that provides quick, well-formulated answers and summarised write-ups, has been misused, especially in the education sector, thus creating competence concerns. Kenyans are turning to AI to increase their productivity, capture their imagination, and build their careers. This year, search interest in AI in relation to jobs increased by over 5,000 per cent while those linked to CV creation up-ticked by 1,150 per cent.

Searches on AI courses, online business, business registration, and digital skills have also increased significantly in 2023. Kenyans seeking help on courses like virtual assistance, data analysis, digital marketing, and cybersecurity have also resorted to the technology.

The use of AI for education and learning can help other related sectors like the agricultural industry, where people can use it to identify nutrient deficiencies and soil defects and receive corrective measures. The same can apply to healthcare, manufacturing, or banking.

However, with the ever-evolving cyberattacks and digital threats, Kenyans and businesses still need more training on how best to protect themselves. The trends released by Google show searches for  Domain Name System (DNS) hijacking, where cyber-criminals exploit vulnerabilities found in a server, increased by more than 350 per cent.

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