Watson is Heading to Africa to Address Pressing Problems


BBC News reports, "The vast brainpower of IBM's supercomputer Watson is to be utilised in Africa to attempt to solve some of the continent's most pressing problems. Better agriculture, education and health are just three of the improvements the system could bring, said the firm. Watson uses artificial intelligence to analyse huge amounts of data and can also understand human language. Experts said such a system could help the African economy 'leapfrog' others. The project dubbed, Lucy, after the earliest known human ancestor fossil which was found in east Africa, will cost $100m (£61m) and take 10 years to complete."


The article continues, "Uyi Stewart, chief scientist of IBM Research in Africa, told the BBC that the system could transform education and health in the same way as mobile banking had transformed finance on the continent. 'With the adoption of mobile phones, banking has become virtual and it could be the same premise in education and healthcare,' he said. Its ability to crunch through vast amounts of data and its access to a wealth of information could prove helpful in a variety of contexts. And people will be able to ask it questions. 'It is also able to reason. One if its key functions is natural language processing,' said Mr Stewart. Schools with poor or non-existent computer resources could link into the cloud-based system via smartphones or portable devices with internet connectivity."


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Image: Courtesy Watson