The South African Artificial Intelligence Association (SAAIA) ,an industry body dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) has been established in South Africa to promote the responsible advancement of AI in the country.
The organization seeks to bring together professionals from various sectors, including commercial, government, academia, start-ups, and non-governmental organizations.
The founder of SAAIA, Dr Nick Bradshaw highlighted the profound impact of AI and related automation technologies on over 120 traditional industries worldwide.
“This disruption is occurring at an unprecedented pace, surpassing previous industrial revolutions,” Dr Bradshaw noted.
SAAIA’s primary focus is to encourage stakeholders in South Africa to adopt responsible AI practices for the benefit of society and the economy.
They emphasize areas such as regulation, economic growth, trade, investment, fairness, equality, and inclusivity.
The launch of SAAIA coincides with the increasing interest in AI-based technologies in South Africa, with platforms like OpenAI’s ChatGPT gaining popularity.
The country’s communications ministry, in collaboration with academia, has established two AI hubs at the universities of Tshwane and Johannesburg.
These hubs align with the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, supporting knowledge generation, research and development, and the implementation of AI applications.
The Information Regulator of South Africa is currently conducting internal discussions on how to regulate AI technologies effectively while ensuring compliance with data privacy laws.
SAAIA outlines its mission, which includes providing analysis and research to inform decision-making, assisting governments with policy-making, facilitating economic growth by connecting buyers and suppliers, supporting small, medium, and micro-sized enterprises (SMMEs) with funding opportunities, and showcasing South African AI innovation and research.
The association’s founding advisory board comprises various organizations, such as Michalsons, ExploreAI, Cirrus AI, TinyML Foundation, Augmented Startups, Data Economy Policy Hub, mLab, Zindi, Technology Innovation Agency, ecosystem.Ai, Tshwane University of Technology, Western Cape Provincial Government, and Webber Wentzel.
SAAIA offers free membership to individuals and provides access to resources, insights, and news throughout the year.
The association plans to kick off a roadshow series in Pretoria on July 19th.
In April 2023, SA became the first African country to allow an AI presenter on a local radio station.
“Jay I took to the Heart FM airwaves this weekend. The entirely artificial intelligence (AI) generated radio presenter presented South Africa’s first fully AI-generated radio show which included an AI-generated playlist, content and features.”
According to Dataconomy, a Berlin-based technology news website, “Artificial intelligence laws and regulations remain a nascent concept in the majority of countries, and the existing rules are far from being universally adopted or inclusive.”