Ghana Moves Up In Computer Application Systems

Ghana has joined the ranks of privileged few countries that apply artificial intelligence (AI), a branch of computer science that aims to create the intelligence in machines and computers to mimic human behaviour.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a computer application system by which machines are empowered to mimic the actions and behaviour of human beings. This enables machines to perform tasks more efficiently and reliably.

AI applications can be used to determine patterns in huge volumes of data obtained from educational institutions, hospitals, banks, insurance companies and are capable of predicting trends that are useful for planning and forecasting.

The field was founded on the assumption that a central property of humans— intelligence—can be so precisely described that it can be simulated by a machine.

The Ghana-India Kofi Annan Centre of Excellence in ICT (AITI-KACE), in partnership with the PASCAL Network of Excellence and Stefan Josef Institute in Europe, has started an eight-day boot camp on artificial intelligence (AI) for researchers and lecturers from some of leading universities in Ghana and Nigeria.

The boot camp is to prepare the grounds for the establishment of an AI laboratory for Ghana to support academic and research work in this area.

As part of the partnership with AITI-KACE, the European institutes have presented an AI research software, CYC, to the centre of excellence to help researchers and lecturers to deepen their knowledge in AI, which helps humans to accomplish tasks more efficiently as the machines are trained to mimic the behaviour of humans with a high level of accuracy and precision.

One of the Course Facilitators, Dr Micheal J. Witbrock of the European Cycorp Incorporated, told the Daily Graphic that AI could be applied in many areas of the Ghanaian society and economy to solve challenges, no matter how difficult and novel.

He explained that with AI, the programmes, software and the machines were fed with so much facts about a subject, with the machines empowered to make inferences and conclusions with precision which could help solve problems that humans had hitherto found difficult.

For example, in the fight against malaria, an AI application could help medical practitioners diagnose, with ease and precision, the type and intensity of the ailment and make super accurate prescriptions, giving answers to how the prescriptions could be obtained.

Interestingly, the software, CYC, could go further to help translate the work into different natural languages (languages spoken in the local area), breaking the literacy and communications barriers to any form of research or medical treatment.

Areas of applied AI includes robotics; perceptive systems, which has to do with human sensing; and expert systems, a complete attempt to make machines replace human characteristics.

Currently, AI technology does a lot of things, including the recognition of voices and performs real time translation in other languages, with the expectation that in five years computers would have been developed that could answer any type of question fed into it.

Besides its use in the medical field, AI applications can be helpful in the fight against corruption as it could be deployed to track the quality of expenditure, monitor their transmission, check fraud and ensure the efficient use of resources.

Dr Witbrock said the boot camp was to stimulate the interest in AI in Ghana as a hub to West Africa, as well as get contributions from Ghanaian course participants.

The Director of the AITI-KACE, Ms Dorothy K. Gordon, said AI would help people enrich their work, while creating avenues for retraining people to do other work.

She said the boot camp was to enable Ghana to benefit from a transfer of knowledge in the area from Europe, adding that a foundation would be established to support the development of AI in Ghana.

While thanking the partners for the software licence made available for research, Ms Gordon said the PASCAL Network had also presented cameras, books and other logistics to facilitate the deepening of AI in Ghana.

The boot camp is to transfer and share technical knowledge on Artificial learning to participants from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the University of Ghana, the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Ashesi University and Regent University.

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