South Africa has an artificial intelligence institute

The AIISA Artificial Intelligence Institute, South Africa’s first was launched on November 30 as part of a partnership between the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies, at Johannesburg Business School, one of UJ’s faculties.

The institute will be split into two centers, one in Johannesburg hosted by Johannesburg Business School, and the second in Pretoria at Tshwane University of Technology.

South Africa, like many countries on the continent, has a strong population but faces economic problems and unemployment. The fourth industrial revolution (4IR) has the potential to help it overcome them, but for that it must train its youth in new technologies.

The South African government set up the Presidential Commission on 4IR (PC4IR) in 2019 which advocated for the establishment of this institute aimed at helping the country become a digital technology leader on the continent.

At the launch of AIISA, Vice Chancellor and Principal of UJ, Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala (who served as PC4IR Vice President), said:

“In 2019, as my PC4IR colleagues and I began to set out the recommendations to help the government take advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital industrial revolution and catapult South Africa into the 4IR, it was clear that the creation of an artificial intelligence (AI) institute was at the heart of our strategy. The recommendation to develop the institute centered on the need to establish a common ground to focus on the application of AI to health, agriculture, finance, mining, manufacturing and government, alongside regulation”.

For Professor Tinyiko Maluleke, Vice-Chancellor of TUT, South Africa could no longer afford to be left behind in the wave of 4RI. He stated :

“TUT had no choice but to respond to the minister’s call for us to join the ministry and UJ in creating one of the most important institutes established in this country in recent years. , namely the AIISA. This key institute will become the nerve center from which we will shape our connected future as a country. A digital future that appeals to every country in the world,” said Professor Maluleke.

Department of Communications and Digital Technology Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavhani says the institute is ushering in a new era in South Africa’s digital transformation efforts, driving economic growth, tackling unemployment and creating positive social impact . She also commented:

“I hope that by launching this institute, with these two universities hosting South Africa’s largest student population of learners from historically disadvantaged backgrounds, the multiplier effect will take place and have an immediate positive impact on these individuals and these communities”.

AI compulsory subject at UJ

Tshilidzi Marwala announced that AI will become a compulsory subject for all UJ students to learn about this technology and get used to working with it. He explained :

“The study of artificial intelligence is becoming a compulsory course in all qualifications at the University of Johannesburg to enable its graduates to progress in all areas of work.”

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South Africa has an artificial intelligence institute


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