This African nonprofit may have cracked the code for effectively bringing world-class AI knowledge to Africans

by | Feb 22, 2019

On Wednesday 20th of February 2019, Data Science Nigeria(DSN) unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI) knowledge boxes in a bid to build stronger AI communities in Nigeria and Africa.

The AI Knowledge Boxes are 2-terabyte external hard drives containing approximately 10,141 educational videos.

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Data Science Nigeria AI Knowledge Box

These videos have been “professionally downloaded from diverse AI learning platforms of top international Artificial Intelligence universities, leading global Machine Learning researchers and first rate AI conferences across the world.”

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The AI Knowledge Box unwrapped

In recent years, AI and related fields have forged the path as major technology defining global progress.

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A Markets and Markets report says “the artificial intelligence market is expected to grow from $21.46 Billion in 2018 to $190.61 Billion by 2025.”

As the rise of AI is fast becoming intertwined with the future of mankind, poor internet connectivity, financial constraint and a lack of electricity are limiting many Nigerians and Africans from accessing the necessary skills to plug into this future.

The dismal nature of these amenities means Africans are not able to access learning materials readily available on the internet.

In an ironic twist, Africa is a continent that should be concerned with AI, even more than the rest of the world.


Suggested Read; Why more Africans should care about Machine Learning 


Data Science Nigeria, a non-profit wants ‘to accelerate Nigeria’s development through a solution-oriented application of machine learning in solving social/business problems and to galvanise data science knowledge revolution.

These efforts it says can position Nigeria to become the outsourcing hub for international Data Science, Advanced Analytics and Big Data.

In a telephone conversation with Techpoint, convener of Data Science Nigeria (DSN) , Bayo Adekanmbi said ideation for the AI Knowledge Boxes took shape last year.

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BAYO ADEKANMBI

Bayo Adekanmbi, Convener, Data Science Nigeria

“From our trainings and bootcamps, we realised to build a world class AI ecosystem, we need world class knowledge. Students have to access the same information and learning available to their peers in MIT, CalTech, Stanford and others,”

He said most of these materials are available in video format. But that infrastructural and economic challenges restrict access.

“Imagine an average Nigerian student streaming a 2-hour video tutorial with terrible internet speed and exorbitant data prices. Online trainings are the other advised option, but a larger percentage of people that need them cannot afford to pay.”

In response to these and other challenges, the AI Knowledge Boxes were created to lower the barrier to creating world class talent in AI, Big Data, Data Science, Machine Learning, and other advanced analytic tools.

The Knowledge Boxes are relevant for Africa as a whole, Bayo said a lot of African countries have already indicated interest as at press time.

“But we want to start from Nigeria, cover the bases here. By April, we hope to start shipping to other Africa countries, two AI Knowledge Boxes per country.”

He said the boxes will be distributed through DSN clubs in campuses and cities across Nigeria before going to other parts of Africa.

On the small quantity, Bayo said the boxes cost ₦25,000 ($69.11) to produce but are completely free for recipients. He said knowledge is the aim more than copyright, so they can be replicated; copied from one medium to the other.

Solving African problems require solutions that can work around existing challenges. And this is one of the most innovative as they come.

Bayo and the DSN team are positive this knowledge-sharing effort will birth world-class AI powered solutions for Africa and the world, from Africa.

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