On Wednesday morning at the Marriot Hotel, Google had a press briefing with the members of the press to officially open their Artificial Intelligence (AI) Research Center. The briefing also included discussions about their overall AI initiatives and they also share some information about their CSquared Fibre project.
Google recently made headlines when they initially announced that they would be opening their first AI center in Africa and it would be based in Accra, Ghana. The press briefing was to shed more light and information of the centre as well as give the press a personal tour of the center.
Moustapha Cisse, the head of the AI Research centre in Ghana, gave a brief introduction of the centre and its mission before officially introducing the Google Ghana AI research team which is made up of a group of diverse individuals from different backgrounds and countries.
There was a panel discussion where the panelists talked about Machine Learning where they tried to demystify the concept. The panel included members from the AI Team including Jorg Doku (Software Engineer), Sara Hooker (Google Brain Researcher) and Mohammed Nassar (Software Engineer).
There was a second panel about the real world applications of Machine Learning and included panelists from the Google team including Andrea Frome (Software Engineer), Yann Dauphin (Research Scientist) and Nyallen Moorosi (Software Engineer).
Estelle Akofio-Sowah, West Africa Regional Manager at CSquared gave a presentation about their Fibre Project which was formally Google Link. The Fibre project was conceived in 2011 with the aim of laying fibre infrastructure across different African cities. It was later rebranded in 2013 as Csquared with Google, Convergence Partners, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and Mitsui & Co., Ltd all having investments in the company.
Csquared’s current mission is to be a wholesale provider for ISPs and MNOs in Africa. They currently operate in Ghana, Uganda, and Liberia
Google established it’s AI Research Centre in Accra to meet the increasing interest in machine learning research across Africa.
The AI Centre will collaborate with local universities, research organisations and policy makers in Ghana and across Africa to deploy AI in solving challenges in the healthcare sector, agriculture, education, and other sectors.
Regarding the AI Centre’s mission, Moustapha Cisse had this to say, “We’ll work and collaborate with institutions across the continent; the team itself is very international; it’s already about 10 people coming from more than 12 different countries; Africans and non-Africans as well so we’re looking forward to collaborate with African Institutions. Our goal is to advance the frontiers of this science so we expect to have a scientific impact but also we expect to through collaborations with different institutions working on local challenges, have an impact to be on our field by applying the technology to agriculture to health and to other areas.”
With the official establishment of the AI Centre in Accra (Google’s first in Africa), Ghana’s capital city will join the likes of Paris, Zurich, Tokyo, Beijing, Montreal, Toronto, Seattle, Cambridge/Boston, Tel Aviv/Haifa, New York and San Franciso as having research centres purely dedicated to AI research.
Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana.
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