How AI, Machine Learning And Cloud Computing Could Impact Zambia’s Future Economic Growth
AI has been the most recent buzzing word!
The growth of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and cloud computing could impact Zambia’s job market and overall economic development. AI refers to technology that allows machines to simulate human-like cognitive abilities such as thinking, learning, and decision-making. By leveraging self-learning algorithms and data analytics capabilities, AI can perform a wide range of tasks without the need for explicit programming, achieving infinite improvements in efficiency and performance over time.
ML is a branch of AI that aims to enable machines to perform their jobs skillfully using intelligent software. Cloud computing offers businesses and organizations a way to store and access data and applications remotely, enabling greater flexibility and scalability.
While there is limited research on the specific jobs that may be affected by these technology trends, some general observations can be made based on the experience of other regions. According to a report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the Future of Work in Africa, while automation and digitalization may affect jobs in various sectors, the greatest impact is likely to be felt in the manufacturing and services sectors. Jobs in manufacturing that are highly repetitive and require low-level skills, such as assembly line workers and machine operators, are likely to be most vulnerable to automation. In the services sector, jobs that involve routine data entry and processing, such as bank tellers and data entry clerks, may also be at risk.
According to a report published by McKinsey & Company in 2018, only 13% of the African workforce is employed in highly automatable sectors, compared to 26% in Europe and 24% in North America. Furthermore, the same report suggests that up to 60% of African jobs have the potential to be transformed through the adoption of digital technologies, including AI.
However, the extent to which new jobs will be created to offset those that may be displaced by automation remains uncertain. The WEF Future of Work report notes that the majority of the jobs that will be created will require skills that are not yet widespread and that there is a need for significant investment in reskilling and upskilling programs to prepare workers for these new roles.
In Zambia, AI and ML could be leveraged to improve healthcare outcomes, optimize agricultural production, and enhance transportation infrastructure, among other applications. The growing use of AI and ML creates a demand for skilled professionals in these areas, which could drive the growth of tech education and training programs in Zambia. Overall, these trends have the potential to drive innovation and development in Zambia and open up new opportunities for growth and progress.
However, the impact of these technology trends on Africa and Zambia at large is still an evolving topic, and there is a need for further research to understand better their potential impact on specific job markets and economic sectors. The impact on the continent will be shaped by a range of factors, including the structure of its economy, the availability of skills and talent, and the extent to which policymakers and businesses invest in preparing for the future of work.