How Ghana became Google's outpost in Africa


Moustapha Cisse (C), head of Google's Artificial Intelligence (AI) center, Ghana, talks to colleagues at a meeting at the AI ​​office on August 10, 2019. This center is the first artificial intelligence center established in Africa by Google . / AFP / CRISTINA ALDEHUELA

Google, the North American group opens an artificial intelligence laboratory in the capital Accra and sees, as Facebook, Africa as a promising market.

At first glance, the facilities resemble all Google locations in the world: the famous logo with primary colors is visible on the wall, the computers are placed on new desks, a bathroom features a Playstation console, the corner cooking a coffee maker express and a microwave … Only a few details betray the first artificial intelligence laboratory opened in Africa by the digital giant: the impressive lines of code on the screens of dozens of researchers working silently in the open space, a great painting full of mathematical formulas, but also, on the wall, tapestries and a collection of fans in kente, these Ghanaian fabrics with geometric and multicolored motifs valued throughout Africa. The meeting rooms were named Bojo and Labadi, in honor of the beaches of this English-speaking country in French-speaking West Africa.

Why open an artificial intelligence center in Ghana? This question intrigued invited journalists Wednesday, April 10 in the capital Accra to visit this laboratory announced in June 2018 and opened last February. The country enjoys political stability and a good level of education in science, agrees the director of the laboratory Moustapha Cissé. But there is a deeper reason, says the rising star of "AI" – a 34-year-old Senegalese who walks the offices in an elegant long-sleeved shirt with a round collar, but without his beautiful loafers, which he removed: "Opening a laboratory here in Africa can advance science by bringing a different perspective to researchers in the United States or France." Of the seventeen Google Artificial Intelligence Centers, nine are in North America, five in Europe, two in Asia and one in Israel. The Accra laboratory is a response to the lack of "Diversity" and the problems of "Bias"in research, which prevent, for example, facial recognition software from identifying black faces well for lack of sufficient training.

Sources: The World

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