The end of 2022 saw the dawn of Artificial Intelligence driven tools set to streamline the modern workforce, tools such as ChatGPT and Dawn AI are now commonly mentioned in conversation around the digital water cooler.
The power of AI lies in its ability to combine and process large amounts of data, allowing it to automatically learn by identifying patterns or features to predictively solve problems before they arise. It is rapidly transforming the tech industry, and according to the African Development Bank 2021 report The Future of Work: Regional Perspectives, Africa is set to be at the forefront of this transformation due to its large youth population and increasing access to mobile and internet technologies.
Much like tech startups world-wide, African startups are finding new and innovative ways to incorporate this developing technology into their product and service deployment. We’ve rounded up three African startups all with a unique focus on tech development using AI in new and interesting ways.
This Cape Town-based company uses AI to develop systems for drones with a focus on assisting farming consultants to analyse processed maps and extract actionable information to identify problem areas in crop farming. This system enables Aerobotics to develop crop specific maps to provide guidance on variable rates of fertilisation and even predict crop yields.
As founder Benji Meltzer explains, “We have built technology that goes as far as identifying and classifying individual trees (using computer vision and machine learning) and then additional algorithms that track each of these trees, with a number of metrics per tree (health, biomass, canopy area, etc) over time,”
With an expected population growth over the next few years the global agricultural industry is stretched to meet current needs, a problem that is made more pressing with the ripple effects of global warming being felt worldwide. The systems built by Aerobotics are focused on combating these issues by providing independent farmers with the ability to access data on yield estimations while tracking harvest schedules by collecting and processing tree and fruit imagery from growers early in the season. This allows farmers to prepare their stock by predicting the demand of their customers and ensuring they are in turn able to provide the highest quality possible.
These systems are just the start for Aerobotics, with future plans being focused on exploring further developing the AI-driven system to be used across additional industries based on their interest and need for this type of data.
Discover more about Aerobotics here.
Ubenwa Health is a Nigeria-based medi-tech platform that focuses its efforts on assisting healthcare workers to diagnose early diseases in infants through analysing their cries.
Using the combination of cutting-edge AI and a smart learning system, Ubenwa Health is able to analyse the amplitude of an infant’s cry and use this data to identify any existing or developing brain or lung conditions. While analysing the pitch of infant cries is not a new concept, AI has helped make massive advancements in the processing of large data sets, with Ubenwa using these advancements for rapid detection.
As co-founder, Charles Onu says, “The infant cry, I believe, is such a vital sign that a baby should not leave the hospital without their cry stamp being analysed and added to the medical information that is being looked at by the physician.”
Through early connection with medical experts specialising in research, Ubenwa was able to gather a wide range of data to guide the development of the AI-run learning system with the future focus to assist parents and healthcare professionals in the early detection of health issues before symptoms emerge.
Over the past three years, Ubenwa’s medical app has been part of a clinical study run by a select group of doctors in six hospitals across Nigeria, Canada, and Brazil. Through the process of collecting and recording the cries of babies with neurological conditions and those without, this data has been fed back into Ubenwa’s medical app using machine learning to analyse the findings. The data has shown that the medical app can detect infant asphyxia with an 88% accuracy rate.
Discover more about Ubenwa Health here.
This Kenya-based edtech startup utilises the power of AI to develop text-based systems to analyse the performance of students to provide individualised support.
Using this AI powered technology, M-Shule is able to take academic strengths and weaknesses of individual students into account while developing learning content that meets the specific needs of each student. Through this personalised analysis, the educational text-based system enables them to improve both their competence and academic strength.
It goes further than providing support solely to the learners and also offers student specific analytics and insights on the progress and performance to their schools, teachers and parents to provide additional support and note key areas for learning assistance. Using a text-based system furthers the equitable access of this adaptive learning platform by negating the need for an internet connection while maximising the impact this individual based learning system has on more vulnerable students.
Much like remote working has become the new way for the modern workforce, systems like M-Shule allow learners of all ages to access educational materials with a more wholistic approach to education.
The name itself in Swahili means ‘mobile school’ and to date has reached over 15,000 learners across 30 countries with no end in sight.
Discover more about M-Shule here.
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