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3nd QUARTER 2019 ZAR25 | US$2.50 | Euro1.60

The Voice of African AI & Data Science Drive your Data, Guide your Business with Hitachi Vantara

Amazon Web Services Support AI Innovation at Africa’s Largest AI Business Event

Indian Software Giant Persistent Systems joins AI Expo Line-Up

SAP to Showcase AI Suite at Ai Expo Africa

City of Cape Town, Invest Cape Town & Wesgro support AI Expo Africa

Vive la France French AI Tech on Show at AI Expo Africa 2019

World Leader in RPA headlines AI Expo Africa 2019

Cape Town and Western Cape Open for Tech “A place with a world-class digital ecosystem, where resources and talent meet commercial and social opportunity.”

OUR ICT sector has unlimited potential and it continues to attract global interest as we focus on ecosystem leadership, purpose & opportunity. We are a region that sees digital disruption as less of a thing and more as a way of doing things. Our destination is a place with a compelling sense of purpose, offering a dynamic digital ecosystem powered by tech-savvy investors and talented people where opportunities to grow and make a difference abound. Digital innovative solutions are nurtured and thrive in this unparalleled beauty with a lifestyle to match. As Africa’s leading technology hub, Cape Town is home to numerous tech start-ups in the sharing economy space, as well as established players. Over the past two years we have attracted great tech interest and investments into Cape Town and the Western Cape, this includes Panasonic who transferred their South African headquarters to Cape Town. In addition, Construct, formerly known as Proversity has an ongoing US $3 million expansion in Cape Town, and have further announced 150 instructional design, tech and creative jobs are expected

to be created in the next three years. As a growing AI economy we house a number of successful AI companies that include DataProphet: which is one of the first machine learning specialists in Africa; Aerobotics who provide on-demand satellite analytics; CLEVVA: that augment human intelligence; Genii Ai: a SaaS development company and Praelexis: providing products and solutions in education, banking, and insurance, all built on a machine learning platform. Our approach to doing business is in creating value at the new frontiers of the world, creating value in the processes that execute a vision of customer & employee experiences and building foundational capabilities that support the entire structure. Discover a place that enables tech talent - enabled by a dynamic digital ecosystem, inspired by boundless, purposeful opportunities for innovation and growth and nurtured by the Mother City’s unparalleled beauty and lifestyle. Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, can help you uncover these opportunities. ai

CITY OF CAPE TOWN, INVEST CAPE TOWN & WESGRO WELCOME AFRICAN AI COMMUNITY TO CAPE TOWN As the largest African AI business event is set to kick off on 4 & 5 September, with VIP Awards and Networking evening on 3 Sept, the City of Cape Town, Invest Cape Town and Wesgro have lent their support to the event, wecloming this growing AI community to the Mother City. I am delighted that we have the privilege of hosting AI Expo Africa in the Mother City. What a pleasure to welcome all the delegates to the Events Capital of the world, Cape Town. Cape Town is renowned for being a world-class tourism destination. I am happy to confirm that increasingly more businesses choose Cape Town as a globally competitive city ready for investment. We are a forward-looking city with a range of opportunities for investors with a lower cost of operation and access to a sizeable market in the rest of South Africa and Africa. We have an integrated service approach in our Enterprise and Investment Department with various units on hand to work with all investors to make sure they have a smooth landing in Cape Town. I am proud of my team that supports and guides investors through all the regulatory and legal requirements for setting up their business in Cape Town, identifying land, speeding up building plan approvals and linking investors to a labour pool. We have a transversal approach in the City to make sure that all departments understand the importance of all sectors and investment and work together to enhance the ease of doing business in Cape Town. As the Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management, my portfolio has the potential to ensure that we continue to be the go-to city on the African continent and globally for business, trade, and tourism. I will continue to build on this success by working with industries and sectors to invest in projects and programmes that drive demand and make business sense. I want to wish you all well. Please explore and enjoy this beautiful city we call home! Alderman James Vos Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management City of Cape Town

Alderman James Vos, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities & Asset Management

Cape Town and the Western Cape Tech Capital of Africa We are a region of unlimited potential. And this translates into unlimited opportunity for those in tech. We have a world-class digital ecosystem, where resources and talent meet commercial and social opportunity. We are a region that sees digital disruption as less of a thing and more as a way of doing things. Our destination is a place with an interconnected business landscape, offering access to a shared economy, powered by tech-savvy investors. Our city is full of talented and highly skilled people, where opportunities to grow and make a global difference abound. We also have an unfair share of natural beauty. So it’s no surprise that global tech companies choose our destination to have headquarters, as a springboard into growing markets, and as a place to work and play. Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, can help you uncover these opportunities in the tech space.



Wesgro | | +27 (0) 21 487 8600

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City of Cape Town, Invest Cape Town & Wesgro - Helping make Cape Town the AI Hub of Africa


UiPath sustains accelerated growth and builds strong market recognition


Global & African Thought Leaders Headline Africa’s Largest Artificial Intelligence Trade Show - AI Expo Africa 2019


Meet the Blue Prism Digital Exchange (DX): A Better, Faster Way to Consume & Share AI Technology

10 Innovation Superpowers In The Age of Intelligence 12 AI and business – are you ready for this? 16 Persistent’s Trade Finance Solution wins AIconics Award for BEST APPLICATION OF AI IN FINANCIAL SERVICES 18 Omina Technologies to Showcase AI Services at AI Expo Africa 20 A Blueprint for Embarking on your Enterprise AI Journey 22 AI meets Human Capital Management with OLSPS’ Propel 24

Vive la France - French AI Tech on Show at AI Expo Africa

25 Women in AI 26 AI in Africa - Growing the Next Generation of Problem Solving Champions 28 The missing link – or loop – for AI success 30

Innovative Solutions from Data


Are we Pets or Masters of the AI Future


Quick Guide: Introducing AI to your Company


Have you unlocked the value of your data with Data Seed?


Accelerating your AI Journey with Kaskade.Cloud


Silicon Cape hosts AI CoP (Community of Practice)


Leveraging Machine Learning and AI for collective innovation in Africa with Zindi


AI - Silver bullet or shiny new toy? by Lightblue’s Alessandro Vignazia


Wits University Will Make Major Announcement at Ai Expo Africa 2019


Can Artificial Intelligence help us tackle the pressing issues in Africa?


RegTech that helps the Chief Information Officer AND Chief Marketing Officer


Zebra Technologies to Showcase Solutions for Industry at AI Expo Africa


Genii AI to showcase at AI Expo Africa - Artificial Intelligence to Improve Customer Experience (CX), Two case studies in CX with > 500% ROI


4IR Incubator - A Partner for SMME’s in Embracing the 4th Industrial Revolution


AI Media Group, Creators Of Africa’s Largest B2B Trade Focused AI Conference, Launches AI TV to Chart The Continent’s 4IR Journey


African AI Community Grows and gets Ready to Gather at 2nd AI Expo Africa



As the second show of AI Expo Africa rolls around - in fact, you’ll be reading this bumper edition of Synapse shortly before the show on 4 & 5 September 2019, at Century City Conference Centre - the folks here at AI Media have barely had time to reflect on what has transpired in the past year, since we launched Africa’s first and largest Artificial Intelligence Business Expo & Conference. Along with the launch of our in-house ai tv channel, we’ve also grown our African AI community substantially, as we aim to reach our vision of connecting AI innovators, vendors and end-users across the continent. As with any new technology, education and public awareness of what AI entails, and how it can be deployed across various sectors is always at the forefront of our efforts to spread the AI word across the continent, and broadcast the message of the phenomenal AI work taking place in Africa. Some of the highlights from the upcoming AI Expo Africa 2019 include a stellar line-up of global and African Artificial Intelligence thought leaders, soccer-playing robots, some French AI flair and music and art composed by Artificial Intelligence. We hope to see you at this year’s Expo as you join our growing African AI community! Roy Bannister - AI Media Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief

It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since we launched Synapse and we are now at edition #5 - the biggest yet, also the pre-show edition for AI Expo Africa - the largest B2B trade show for AI suppliers and buyers. We’ve come along way in 12 months and as we approach the cusp of AI Expo Africa 2019 and our 2nd edition of the show it’s going to be bigger than last year with 100+ speakers, more vendors and more real world AI deployments and stories to share from those using AI in the wild. We’ve witnessed a big focus on RPA in the last 12-18 months and it’s clear business users are now approaching the AI opportunity from all angles, be it personalization, CX, Bots, analytics, security, health etc... but we are also seeing a growing AI for Good movement that is seeking to solve some of the toughest challenges on the planet - we have gone from hype to reality and we hope you enjoy this edition and the show on the 4-5th Sept - join us if you can! Nick Bradshaw - AI Media Co-Founder & Community Director

With an Automation First Mindset the Possibilities are Limitless Companies move faster and are more efficient, while employees are happy and focused on solving real challenges. It enables your company to move faster and be more efficient, while keeping your employees happy and focused on solving real problems. Learn more Lenore Kerrigan Country Sales Director | South Africa m: +27 83 212 4452 e:

UIPATH SUSTAINS ACCELERATED strong market recognition UiPath is the leading Robotic Process Automation (RPA) enterprise software and the promoter of the ‘Automation First’ era, which allows organizations all over the world to automate repetitive, boring tasks, improving productivity, customer experience, and employee satisfaction. Built in 2015 on the foundation of DeskOver, a software outsourcing company from Bucharest, Romania, UiPath has grown into a 3,200 employee-strong global company, with over 50 offices and more than 4,000 customers, including eight of the top 10 Fortune 500.




Lenore Kerrigan Head of Sales SA UiPath

African enterprises of all sizes and spanning numerous verticals reaping reap the benefits of RPA and AI via their automation solution of choice, the UiPath RPA Platform


At the forefront of the democratization of RPA technology Led by a deep awareness of the impact of the automation industry has on the future workplace, UiPath has taken responsibility and has put in place tools that allow those interested to gain working knowledge of RPA. In 2017 UiPath became the first RPA vendor to launch a free of charge curriculum of courses via its UiPath Academy, an online platform offering training for the jobs of the future: RPA Business Analyst, RPA Developer, RPA Solution Architect, etc. Additionally, the company created the UiPath Academic Alliance program pledging to train one million students in automation from one thousand schools in the next three years. AI-powered automation takes speed in Africa UiPath opened its South African office in Johannesburg in January 2019 and has since expanded into a hub covering the entire African region. Lenore Kerrigan, Head of Sales for South Africa, said: “Having set up a presence in South Africa at beginning 2019, we have noted that there is an increased appetite for adopting automation solutions. African markets are ripe for automation. During this time, we have witnessed many enterprises of all sizes and spanning numerous verticals reap the benefits of RPA and AI via their automation solution of choice, the UiPath RPA Platform. Our rapidly growing base of trusted clients makes us feel both humbled by the fast progress and eager to help them scale their RPA to drive positive business outcomes. We look forward to working alongside our expanding local partner base to continue to provide excellence to our joint customers.” ai


Reinventing the future of work with the help of AI From the outset, UiPath was created with the purpose of freeing people from the burden of mundane, repetitive tasks and allow them to focus on those they really love doing. RPA’s ability to automate rules-based business tasks with a low code and easy to implement approach has allowed customers to quickly solve real-world business challenges. However, as more organizations seek to automate more complex tasks, UiPath’s developers have sought to integrate AI, whose potential seem endless. That is why, UiPath’s automation solution seamlessly combines RPA and AI with the help of UiPath AI Fabric, which breaks down the barriers between RPA and

data science teams and enables customers to apply the limitless cognitive powers of AI to any software being automated by RPA. The UiPath AI Fabric, which delivers an end-to-end AI/ML skill deployment and management within the UiPath RPA platform, is set to go on private preview in Q3 of 2019.


EMPLOYING JUST 10 people, for years DeskOver had built automation libraries for developers and that code is still being used on millions of machines around the globe, embedded in different software products. Its co-founders Daniel Dines and Marius Tirca, today UiPath’s CEO and CTO, were focused on building the best technology they could and in 2012 have changed their focus to create the best RPA platform currently on the market. The real challenge they faced then was turning an outstanding software product into the automation solution of choice for enterprises and public organizations around the world. The startup they created in 2015, named UiPath, won the first clients and concluded partnerships with several BPO and consulting firms. That year, the newly created company, which had grown its core team from 10 to 100, set what would later become a strong foothold in the United States by opening an office in New York. In August that year UiPath closed an initial seed round, which was followed in 2017 by a Series A investment of $30 million. Fast forward to today, UiPath has attracted over $1 billion in investment to date, and in April 2019 received an evaluation of $7 billion, which probably makes it the most valuable AI player in the world. In July 2019, UiPath was positioned by Gartner, Inc. as a Leader in the “2019 Magic Quadrant for Robotic Process Automation Software” research report. UiPath was one of 18 vendors evaluated in the first year of this report and placed highest and furthest for ability to execute and completeness of vision, respectively, in the Leaders quadrant.

GLOBAL & AFRICAN THOUGHT Leaders Headline Africa’s Largest Artificial Intelligence Trade Show - AI Expo Africa 2019


Some of the highlights from the upcoming AI Expo Africa 2019 include a stellar line-up of global and African Artificial Intelligence thought leaders, soccer-playing robots, some French AI flair and music and art composed by Artificial Intelligence.



AI EXPO 2019 HIGHLIGHTS: • Line-Up of Global & African AI Thought Leaders, including Kay Firth-Butterfield (World Economic Forum - Head of Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning, Bayo Adekanmbi (Chief Technology Officer, MTN Nigeria), Simon See (Nvidia AI Technology Centre) and Karim Beguir (CEO & Co-Founder Instadeep) along with a world-class line-up of 70 speakers in 4 tracks, namely Innvation, Platforms & Panels, Case Studies, and a brand-new practical Demo Zone, sponsored this year by UiPath, global leaders in RPA (Robotic Process Automation). Communications Minister, Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams has confirmed she will visit AI Expo Africa. • French AI Business and Trade Delegation - This year’s event will feature a large French AI delegation organised by The French Embassy in South Africa and Business France, to promote mutual co-operation and business opportunities in the AI sector. • World-Champion Soccer-playing Robots - Rhoban, one of the French companies showcasing its products at AI Expo Africa 2019, are the current RoboWorldCup Champs, and a few robots will be on display at Africa’s largest AI trade show. • WITS University Announcement - Wits will announce a major research initiative at AI Expo Africa, that is intended to bring about a step change in scientific research and commercialisation in Africa. • Africa’s first-ever AI Art & Music Challenge - The winners of Africa’s first AI Art & Music Challenge will be announced. The challenge was conceived to showcase the creative and technical abilities of African AI entrepreneurs and data scientists. • AI Innovation Cafe - Artificial Intelligence start-ups from Africa and entrepreneurs will get the opportunity to showcase their skills and services alongside global leaders in this space like UIPath, Amazon, SAP and Hitachi Vantara. This new feature gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to network with business leaders from all sectors, with an eye to providing solutions to these sectors for 4IR implementation. As the buzz-words ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and ‘4th Industrial Revolution’ become an ever-increasing part of our daily lives, many business and government leaders still admit that they don’t really understand what it means, and what the real-world application of AI entails. AI Expo Africa cuts through the hype around AI, and the event - now in its second year - showcases the real-world applications of AI available to businesses.

A deeper understanding of what AI entails, and how to begin implementing Artificial Intelligence applications like RPA (Robotic Process Automation) can also be gained through a number of Executive Skills AI Workshops at the event, as well as an in-depth conference programme designed for all levels of understanding. The Expo will also host FREE student / young engineer workshops to foster grass roots job creation & skills development opportunities. World leaders in the AI space, like UIPath, SAP, Hitachi Vantara, AWS and Blue Prism will share their knowledge of AI alongside African start-ups, vendors and entrepreneurs, all with the shared goal of harnessing AI for the greater economic and social benefit of Africa across sectors like retail, banking, agriculture, healthcare, mining and manufacturing. AI Expo Africa 2019 is aimed at the C-Suite decision makers, investors and innovators focusing on the disruptive nature of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Deep learning (DL), Data Analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), AI cloud platforms, hardware, devices and Internet of Things (IoT) in the real world environment of business TODAY. More about the event: Taking place on 4th-5th September 2019, Century City Conference Centre, Cape Town, South Africa, AI Expo Africa 2019 is focusing on real world applications & trends driving the Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Data Science Economy in Africa. Brought to you by the team at AI Media, AI Expo Africa is the largest Business focused AI Community conference and expo on the continent. With 700+ delegates, 70+ speaker programme, 40+ exhibitor Expo Hall, allied to the unique Innovation Cafe showcasing the latest AI start-ups in the region, we deliver a truly integrated event experience. Our speaking programme and workshops are aimed at CxOs, analysts and investors with the primary goal of educating business leaders about AI & Data Science applications solving Enterprise challenges TODAY as well as generating real business and learning opportunities for sponsors, speakers, buyers, suppliers & innovators alike. If you would like to join the event as a delegate, please book your ticket online here via Quicket: ai

Drive Your Data, Guide Your Business Hitachi Vantara

MEET THE BLUE PRISM Digital Exchange (DX):

A Better, Faster Way to Consume & Share AI Technology


If you’re not prioritizing operational agility as part of digital transformation, you can bet the competition is. Automation of manual, back office work through software like Robotic Process Automation (RPA) reins in costs and improves efficiencies, reduces mistakes and can even disrupt the way you craft customer experiences.



BUT, SAVVY businesses are moving beyond simple automation to intelligent automation—smarter, faster and more advanced solutions that accelerate digital transformation through Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and cognitive technologies. The union of automation and AI is gaining momentum because its helping businesses worldwide deliver on even bigger promises. Meet the Blue Prism Digital Exchange—a professional marketplace for consuming and sharing AI technology that’s driving greater operational agility and improved business results. The Case for Democratizing Technology— Competitive Advantage Demands Simple, Easy Access to AI AI and advanced technologies are the future. And forward-thinking businesses automate tasks and empower their people using AI. But, staying competitive in business today means having the right technology at your fingertips—not just easy access to innovative tools, but also, the power of choice to decide which AI-powered solutions to deploy. The Blue Prism Digital Exchange makes it easier than ever to upskill a Digital Workforce and instantly deploy the most in-demand AI solutions right from the Blue Prism RPA platform. Whether you’re looking to more efficiently address customer pain through sentiment analysis, extract

market intelligence from unstructured data or reduce customer frustration through a virtual assistant, you can, directly through your Digital Workforce. Plug & play capability lets you download your chosen asset, access it under the matching skill on your Blue Prism platform and integrate the solution you need instantly. That’s simple, hassle-free innovation. Partner with Blue Prism & Bring Emerging Tech to Life—Share Your Own Technology on the DX Did you know that you can join the world’s most innovative companies on the journey to democratize AI? Partner with Blue Prism on the Digital Exchange and your solution becomes part of an exciting ecosystem of cutting-edge technologies promoted to a fast growing (and highly sophisticated) customer base worldwide. The goal is simple: make the consumption of AIpowered solution fast and easy—and bring emerging tech to life. The Blue Prism Digital Exchange provides direct access to amazing technologies through downloadable apps or referrals, giving 1000+ customers a turn-key user-friendly marketplace. Ready to join the Digital Exchange Community? Visit today at or learn more about how to empower your people with Blue Prism connected-RPA at ai

Join the Digital Exchange community Everyoneʼs talking about AI and the smart solutions that make what we do every day even easier. Whether itʼs using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to identify risk, analyzing digital images via computer vision or simply delivering standout customer experiences faster and without error, staying competitive in business today meeans having the right technology at your fingertips. Welcome to the Digital Exchange community – a professional marketplace for consuming and sharing AI technology thatʼs driving greater operational agility and improved business results.

Ready to join the Digital Exchange community? Visit today at: …or learn more about how to empower your people with Blue Prism RPA at

About Blue Prism As the pioneer, innovator and market leader in Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Blue Prism delivers the world’s most successful Digital Workforce. The company’s intelligent digital workers provide business leaders with new operational capacity and intelligent skills to automate mission critical business processes, while meeting the requirements of the most demanding IT environments, where security, compliance and scalability are paramount. Blue Prism provides a scalable and robust execution platform for best-of-breed AI and cognitive technologies and has emerged as the trusted and secure RPA platform of choice for the Fortune 500. For more information visit

Innovation Superpowers In The Age Of Intelligence In today’s disruptive world, one truth is beyond dispute: Innovation is absolutely critical for sustainable business growth. by Rudeon Snell, Director: Intelligent Solutions at SAP Southern EMEA ‘MASTERING THESE Innovation Superpowers will provide a platform for others to sit up and take notice of your ideas, to get others to listen to what you have to say and what you have to contribute in making this world a better place, positively impacting the lives of billions.’ McKinsey highlights the fact that 85% of CEOs rank innovation as one of their top three strategic imperatives. And for good reason. When executed properly, innovation can be truly game-changing. Consider how electricity, the steam engine, the fax machine, flight, the Internet and the mobile phone (to name just a few examples) had the power to move our collective societies forward. With the democratization of technology, small upstarts now have the potential to disrupt major industries – and you won’t even see them coming. Consider Airbnb: Founded in 2008, the company now has 3,500 employees and is valued




‘Mastering these Innovation Superpowers will provide a platform for others to sit up and take notice of your ideas, to get others to listen to what you have to say and what you have to contribute in making this world a better place, positively impacting the lives of billions.’

at $35 billion, making it the second most valuable startup in America (after Uber). In stark contrast, Hyatt Hotels, founded in 1957, has 45,000 employees with a market cap of $7.6 billion. Uber offers another example. Founded in 2009, it has 16,000 employees globally and a market cap of $75 billion. Automaker BMW, founded in 1916, has roughly 135,000 employees globally and a market cap of $45 billion. In all of these examples, consider the time to value and compare that to the employee cost to company. That’s the power of innovation. Exponential growth shouldn’t create the misconception that innovation is simple, however. Suppose you have an idea –perhaps it’s an idea for a new product or service, maybe it’s an idea for a new process to help your organization be more efficient, potentially saving it millions. To boost your chances of moving your idea forward in a meaningful way, there are critical skills that must be mastered. Let’s call them innovation superpowers. Mastering these superpowers will provide a platform for others to sit up and take notice of your ideas, to get others to listen to what you have to say and what you have to contribute in making this world a better place, positively impacting the lives of billions. 1. Know how to tell a story Walt Disney understood that people don’t want to just buy products and services – they want relationships, stories, and magic. In the modern age, we call this the experience economy, and with the inclusion of exponential technologies such as artificial intelligence, it has become known as the intelligent experience economy. Continued on page 14

SAP to Showcase its AI Offerings at AI Expo Africa 2019 as Platinum Sponsor Visit the SAP stand at AI Expo Africa on 4 & 5 September 2019 at Century City Conference Centre, and find out how SAP can assist your business or organisation on its AI Journey.

Make your Best Employee a Digital Employee Intelligent machines are changing the world, and we can now use them to make better decisions in our own everyday lives. From automation & decision making to language & sentiment detection, you can now have an AI powered superhero in your organization with personalized chatbots from Ocular Technologies.

Welcome back Mr. Cook, Would you like to order the pepperoni pizza with extra cheese again?

Yes Please!

Speak to us about revolutionizing your Customer eXperience. |



AI AND BUSINESS – are you ready for this? Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the power to change the way in which we work, play, and interact with everyone and everything around us. By Pommie Lutchman, CEO and founder of Ocular Technologies


Cobus Greyling, Technical Product Manager: Design & Innovation at Ocular Technologies



ONE OF the distinct advantages of AI is the ability to ingest unstructured data, be it text, imagery, video or more. With advances in natural language understanding and processing, and progressions in machine learning as regards the recognition of objects in images and video, data can be analysed in an automated fashion with no human involvement whatsoever. And this data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather shopper information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transactions, and cell phone GPS signals, to name but a few. In fact, with access to these exabytes of public and private data, and through AI engines that can process text, video, voice and images (coupled with natural language understanding and generation, sentiment and tone analysis), cognitive processing and analysis can revolutionise the way in which we consume, create, and cohabit with current and future technologies – effectively blurring the line between human and machine processing capabilities.

But what is the benefit to business? AI can play a significant role in building profit, driving down operating costs of any business while also increasing revenue. Enterprise AI solutions and platforms can streamline operations; drastically reducing the time, cost and effort for all but the most complex of tasks, while at the same time providing rich data and analysis around efficiencies, bottlenecks, processes and resources. Used in business, any repetitive task that requires a human to consistently and mundanely repeat it multiple times is a great candidate for the use of AI and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions. And this won’t just be at the factory level – we’ll also see positions within fields such as accounting, law, and even medicine changing in the future. Human labour will be reallocated and repurposed into more complex data-modelling, scientific analysis and sales-focussed tasks, once again increasing revenue while driving down costs. And we’re already seeing practical examples of AI all around us. As a case in point, one of the more prevalent implementations today would be text-based automated bots. These automated bots can also be voice enabled, like Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. Having said that, there are companies that have accomplished much in the field of AI, such as, SoundHound and Rasa. These are companies that do not merely orchestrate cloud-based services, choosing rather to develop their own platform and address a specific niche market.

AI can play a significant role in building profit, driving down operating costs of any business while also increasing revenue.” - Pommie Lutchman, CEO and founder of Ocular Technologies


Ocular Technologies is a specialist customer engagement and digital experience solutions provider. We employ a unique set of individuals who are experts in understanding, managing, and ultimately ensuring, an optimal customer experience. With a vision of being regarded as an internationally respected leader in the customer engagement market, Ocular Technologies strives to have our customers appear as heroes in the eyes of their clients. We hold more than 15 years’ experience in the customer contact life-cycle space, and create a quantifiable business impact through intelligent interaction management, robotic process automation, ambient computing, natural language processing, and cognitive analysis and design. Drawing from a focused selection of best-of-breed technologies and methodologies, Ocular Technologies is outstandingly positioned to offer a holistic solution including strategy and planning, implementation and delivery, as well as enablement and operations. As a 100% black-owned, Level 1 B-BBEE contributor, Ocular Technologies has the added advantage of offering a Preferential Procurement level of 135%.


Taking a practical approach towards AI However, not everybody is building AI into their business strategies, mostly because it all seems so “out there” – too many talking about AI, not enough showing businesses how to implement it. So what can you do to find a workable approach to implementing AI? The first step should be to look at existing manual, human-based services and functions, and secure a clear understanding of which of these can be automated. Next, follow a clear and defined process of mapping out the required automation steps in detail. Once that is done, choose an AI platform and vendor that will help you map the required automation steps to a list of AI micro-services, formalising integration points and data structures, testing it all, and moving into production. A practical working formula, as prescribed by Cobus Greyling, Technical Product Manager: Design & Innovation at Ocular Technologies, has been to: • Start small – using bite-size chunks, work towards a final solution using small, measurable and flexible components as part of the bigger picture. • Be clear on your objectives – an inherent risk with building AI solutions is that they tend to miss the mark completely, due to the end-result or goal not being clearly defined and documented, and that makes it difficult to gauge the success or failure of the project. • Execute – many solutions fail due to the components not being fleshed out and tested, so work with agile principles and spend the time executing. • Measure – make sure that your solution or application is built around configurable, measurable metrics and build those directly into your development cycle. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. • Grow – if your solution works and works well, it can only grow at scale and you need to be ready for it, so make sure your platforms and infrastructure allow for this. The final piece of advice is that you should have fun! AI inroads can be immensely satisfying and extremely gratifying when everything goes according to plan. Enjoy making your own mark on AI rules and solutions, and you should find it to be a richly rewarding experience. ai


Innovation Superpowers In The Age Of Intelligence Continued from page 10


This notion of magic remains true to this very day. Walt Disney was one of the first to truly understand this idea of experience, and he built a billion-dollar business around it. In today’s world, we are all pressed for time. Suppose you have an idea, and it’s a great one, a game changer. If you cannot explain your idea, capture and energize people around it and galvanize resources for it, you’ve already lost. Your idea has become the proverbial tree that falls in an empty forest: No one is around to hear it make a noise. One of the greatest fallacies of innovation is that it’s the best ideas that win. The truth is, the best-presented ideas are the ones that often win. History is littered with examples of great ideas that didn’t make it. To help make your idea one of the best-presented ones, you need to master the superpower of storytelling. And one of the biggest hurdles ideas face is to get the right audience to listen, to understand your idea, to take interest and care. A compelling story is much more powerful than simply relaying information. Stories allow your ideas to become relatable. Listeners become characters in your tale, and your ideas resonate more powerfully. Stories make your ideas personal. Stories create empathy. Stories allow people to feel human and to buy into your vision, and once that happens, it’s much easier for them to become part of it. Suddenly, your idea becomes real; it’s no longer an abstract concept. That is the true power of stories, and that’s why the superpower of storytelling matters when it comes to innovation.



2. Be bold, be creative, be imaginative There’s a great old adage that states, “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.” The same philosophy can be applied to your ideas. Being smart is no longer enough. For every smart person, there are at least a thousand others, in different companies all over the world, who are even smarter. How are you planning to have your ideas stand out among the crowd in this interconnected world? How are you planning to demonstrate that your ideas matter? You must be able to think differently, and for that, you need bravery, creativity, and imagination. Organizational leaders who embrace this philosophy have thrived in the digital age. Consider Valve Corporation, a video-game development company in Seattle, Washington, that was founded in 1996. Outside of executive management, the company has no management structures, no reporting lines, no job descriptions. Employees work on teams, based on what interests them. By 2012, Valve was more profitable per employee than Google, Apple, or Microsoft. Don’t be fooled into thinking that creativity is a natural-born talent either. Creativity is actually a way of operating. Next time you have an inspirational idea, focus on your surroundings. What were you doing, and where were you? Was it morning, afternoon, or evening? What triggered the inspiration? The goal is to understand what your specific rituals and routines were in that specific moment of creative awareness and then reaffirm them over and over. This is how creativity becomes a habit or even a lifestyle of sorts. This is how you get to control your creative process and keep churning out ideas. Master this superpower and watch it yield results.

3. Have the necessary subject-matter expertise You need to know what you are talking about. That doesn’t mean you must be the uber-expert in the domain of your idea, but you at least need to understand the fundamentals and how they relate to moving the business agenda forward. This superpower is important because people don’t invest only in an idea. Ask any venture capitalist and they’ll tell you – they invest in people. Ideas change, but the people executing on them change less. They invest in personal equity: passion, purpose, potential, knowledge, expertise, and skills. Knowing your stuff when it comes to your idea gives you the confidence to tackle the difficult tasks. This confidence is visible when you communicate, and it creates an aura of competence that cultivates trust. Become the go-to person for your idea, the face people associate with your idea, the champion of your idea. Embracing this superpower will give you credibility and confidence before and after pitching your idea. 4. Create clarity and a compelling vision Take ownership of your idea. It is your idea, after all. Make sure you drive it, you give it life, you own it, you inspire others with it, you generate energy around it, you get the necessary resources for it – you, you, you. There will always be doubters who give you thousands of reasons why your idea will fail – but believe in your idea. When you are told that your idea is too radical, stay true to your vision and double down on it. Clearly articulate the business value and transformative impact of your idea. Remember: If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs. There’s nothing wrong with building other people’s dreams; it’s a path that most people take, and many are very successful. But make sure it’s a choice you make. Don’t just let it happen to you. 5. Get things done Mastering this superpower is critical. If you can’t get things done, your idea will die, period! In fact, many entrepreneurs’ ideas die here, because they are unable to master this superpower and execute on their ideas. There will always be unforeseen challenges and barriers, resource shortages, people issues, etc. Regardless, you must master the power of moving forward. An IDEO mantra reads, “Don’t get ready, get started.” Things will evolve from there. The quicker you start, the quicker you’ll learn, iterate, and evolve your idea. Getting things done is the most critical superpower to ensure that your idea makes it from concept to execution. Consider this: The world would never have known Harry Potter if J.K. Rowling had given up after 10 manuscript rejections. Rowling’s brainchild was rejected 12 times before it was finally published, and the world hasn’t been the same since. Conclusion So what’s next for your idea, for the industry you find yourself in? What impact will your ideas have on the world? How will you use your ideas to create value and drive purpose that makes a difference? Master your innovation superpowers! Create a future that makes a better life for all of us. ai

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PERSISTENT’S TRADE FINANCE Solution wins AIconics Award for


In the recently announced 2018 AIconics awards, Persistent’s accelerator solution for Named Entity Recognition, Classification and Intelligent decision-making won the AIconics award in ‘Best AI Solution for Finance’ category. Persistent is a Platinum sponsor at the upcoming AI Expo Africa, and will be shwocasing their AI services at Africa’s largest AI-business event.

About the solution This solution helps to improve the productivity of operations team by automating information extraction and validation for typical Trade Finance documents. Artificial Intelligence driven solution that works across any document type, irrespective of its shape, size or format.


Key Benefits: “Systems Learning” based on actions from the Operations team Faster go-live timelines, weeks vs. months Average 40% productivity in turn around times identifying entities for Sanction Screening Improved coverage of about 95%+ with Zero manual intervention



About AIconics Awards The AIconics are the world-renowned awards celebrating the drive, innovation and hard work in the international Artificial Intelligence for Business Community. The awards are organized and judged by AI Business alongside a panel of worldclass independent experts and attract over 300 registrations from across the globe. ai


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OMINA TECHNOLOGIES to Showcase AI Services at AI Expo Africa

Omina Technologies, founded in 2016 by Rachel Alexander, is an ethical artificial intelligence company active in Europe, the US and Africa.

WE BELIEVE that artificial intelligence should be available to companies big and small We believe in handling data ethically and with respect for privacy We believe that artificial intelligence should be explainable and transparent Omina CORE: In our research and development department we have developed an artificial intelligence platform which combines cutting edge technology with ethical artificial intelligence principles. Companies with less data can utilize the benefits of artificial intelligence thanks to our revolutionary approach. Our user-friendly platform gives companies big and small across different sectors the ability to use AI simply and easily. Our platform works within your environment and therefore we do not take data out of its natural habitat. You can rest easy knowing we are handling your data ethically and with respect. Our platform uses cutting edge technological techniques to give you the opportunity to audit your algorithms and see how they have evolved over time so that you have the peace of mind that your AI is explainable and transparent.


Omina CONSULTING: In our consultancy department we provide strategic consulting services and deliver hard



to find profiles in artificial intelligence to companies in need. For companies taking their first steps in artificial intelligence, who want to move forward in a strategic and structured way that aligns with the future vision of their company, we offer our “Artificial Intelligence Readiness Assessment�. Our readiness assessment helps companies understand better how they can leverage artificial intelligence within their company, how to position AI strategically within their company, what their strengths and weakness are as a company if they want to move towards artificial intelligence and we help them create a strategic roadmap for the future. We have artificial intelligence engineers, big data engineers, DEVops engineers, big data analysts and project managers specialised in data with experience on a multitude of platforms and proficient in different technologies ready to help your company. Omina ACADEMY: In our knowledge department we provide training for companies that want to expand their knowledge of artificial intelligence. Omina Academy provides various hands-on trainings. We give training that will help you understand how artificial intelligence is being used in your sector and how it can be utilized within your company. In addition we offer executive management seminars to help management understand this exciting technology and more importantly, how to leverage it within their company. ai

A BLUEPRINT FOR Enterprise AI Journey In 2013 Telkom had significant challenges to address. It had declining financial performance, its mobile position was weak, it needed to pay a Competition Tribunal fine of R449m, and the share price had plummeted to R13 per share.

by Stefan Steffen, Lead Data Scientist, Telkom Group

BY 2018 Telkom had overcome many of these critical challenges, creating portfolio growth through the acquisition of BCX, developing more competitive wholesale and retail pricing structures, and delivering strong profit uplift through cost efficiencies. The share price had rocketed to reach R97 per share.


But the race is not won yet. Diversified growth is the critical next imperative to ensure that Telkom maintains its pace. Let’s look at how the Telkom group is developing its data-centric culture, investing in future skill and technologies, and becoming “AI-first” to deliver on its customer promises and business strategies.



Externally, Telkom’s commitment to innovation, coding and data science skills in South Africa has been visionary, and its efforts to accelerate South African investment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has been tireless. Telkom, the initial sponsor of the 4IRSA initiative, believes 4IR will have many significant opportunities for South Africa if there is enough investment. These include improved access to better services, which will be provided more efficiently across socio-economic and geographic barriers - increasing transparency, trust and social cohesion through direct communication. And to extend its impact in this area, Telkom’s information and communications technology subsidiary BCX invested more than a R100 million in the development of coding and data science skills in South Africa. The investment into WeThinkCode aimed to more

Telkom’s commitment to innovation, coding and data science skills in South Africa has been visionary, and its efforts to accelerate South African investment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has been tireless. - Stefan Steffen, Lead Data Scientist, Telkom Group

than double the number of entry-level coders in the South African market , and the start of the Explore Data Science Academy would launch more than 300 aspiring data scientists into the industry through free yearlong data science internships, addressing the growing demand for big data analytics within the country.

Internally the Group CEO focused on creating capacity, establishing the Telkom Strategic Insights unit to deliver data management, data insight, and data science services and solutions to the Telkom group. The Insights unit is made up of strong data management, data engineering, and data science skills - leveraging coding and data science resources from the WeThinkCode and Explore Data Science Academy programs to increase capacity. Initially, the pent-up demand for business insight required significant focus on data visualisation and advanced analytics services.

Embarking on your But over time we are ringfencing capacity to increase our focus on developing AI solutions. But what does a simple enterprise blueprint for becoming an AI-first organisation look like? Although there is much to consider, I believe that if you are strong in the following three areas then you will be well on track to becoming an AI-first enterprise. Assess the opportunities and be strong on value. The process of ideation and value creation is not new to South African enterprises, and the ambit of artificial intelligence requires the same discipline. Businesses need to create clarity on their vision for transformation, spend time identifying critical use cases, and then measure the value of AI for these specific opportunities.   Experiment and then execute at scale. Once the use cases have been prioritised for execution, then experimentation starts. This critical part of the process helps businesses to demonstrate early value, scaling where value emerges to maximize the business impact, and extending the impact across processes and business units. It is as part of this process that investment in infrastructure and platforms are required, allowing the curation of critical data assets and enabling the deployment of AI. Internal capacity is critical, but this alone won’t win the race. And although it is critical that organisations invest in internal capability to ensure strong data management and data science disciplines, winning the race

often requires leveraging outside collaboration and partnerships to ensure that broad progress is made increasing the likelihood of success. This collaboration can stretch from research ventures with academia, to seeding start-up capital for AI solutions, or more traditional digital partnership approaches. It is in leveraging this simple blueprint that the Telkom group is deriving value from AI. Examples of existing initiatives in the Telkom group: For Telkom Consumer it is the Customer Value Management team’s Mo’Nice promotion recommender system aiding significant growth in mobile service revenue, ensuring that Telkom’s affordable broadbandled proposition continues to resonate with customers. For BCX this might be Blaze, the internal employee engagement chatbot who is helping more than 6000 employees navigate Company Policies, HR and Internal IT information in real time.  For Openserve it is the modernisation of the network through POTN (packet optical transport network), futureproofing the core network and enabling data growth across access, aggregation and core networks. This is the foundation for software-defined networks and network functional virtualisation capability. For Gyro this is about optimising and growing its mast and tower portfolio, commercialising its broader property portfolio, and enhancing building operation efficiencies through the Internet of Things and analytics. For Yellow Pages it is the relaunch of their online platform, contributing to the 175 percent increase in users with about a 1 million customers visiting the site monthly. ai




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Capital Management with OLSPS’ Propel

At OLSPS Workforce, a next generation workforce tool called PROPEL has been carefully engineered and deployed over the past decade. PROPEL uses a sophisticated series of algorithms, un-gameable surveys and decades of behavioural science expertise to scientifically measure the inherent employee behavioural framework and link it directly to KPIs and other key business outcomes.

The resulting analytics is wide and complex. Running through the analytical process entails several thousand operations, and several hundred thousand data points, to produce the final, robust set of scores and custom predictive models. Several analytical models are run and considered in a champion/challenger methodology; and non-performance modelling, such as K-Means clustering, provides further lenses for interrogation.


THE PROPEL journey started almost a decade ago, as an ambitious idea to shift from the soft and subjective nature of cultural and behavioural management to an approach centred in hard analytics. As it turned out, this was an extensive analytical challenge, taking years of real-world development to get right. Today, PROPEL has been a success story in major companies across Australia, and is now taking hold in South Africa.



Is there really value in analysing Mindsets & Behaviours in the workplace? PROPEL has shown that Mindsets & Behaviours explain as much as 40% of KPI performance in non-trivial roles. That’s a 40% information edge; to inform leadership and align efforts, at scale, in an area that was previously unquantifiable. Moreover, PROPEL addresses the ‘drivers’ of performance, over and above outcome-driven management tools such as KPIs. One of the advantages of developing the solution in-house was that OLSPS Workforce could be developed from a data science perspective. The entire process from initial data capture, survey management, optimisations, dashboards, mailers and analytical modelling is all driven from a perfectly relational database. This means there is inherently 100% data integrity, and the content of any part of any survey or surrounding process is driven through the database. This in turn can be easily deployed and managed in a cloud environment, making PROPEL very accessible.  As the development methodology is entirely data-centric, every angle of the process can be queried in relation to every other angle, and every possible question is available to be answered through analytical interrogation. 

PROPEL has long since established a successful footprint across the business banking sector in Australia. The data-centric nature of this industry has allowed for accelerated, real-time development. To date, PROPEL has shown tens of millions of dollars in ROI. Moreover, it has become an integral, statistically relevant source of insight for leadership, into the key Mindsets & Behaviours that drive banking performance. As PROPEL begins to take hold in South Africa it is well poised to be a valuable, affordable and highly accessible solution for just about any business. For any organisation trying to impact culture or performance through machine learning, PROPEL provides hard insights into the untapped world of Mindsets & Behaviours. PROPEL will be showcased at the AI Expo on 4 and 5 September in Cape Town. To better understand how PROPEL can benefit your organisation, get in touch with the team at OLSPS. ai For more info: Visit OLSPS’ Stand at AI Expo Africa 2019

Applying Data Science to Mindsets & Behaviours

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French AI Tech on Show

at AI Expo Africa

In France, AI is one of the national key priorities, as President Emmanuel Macron highlighted in his keynote address during the “AI for Humanity” conference, held at the College de France in March 2018. By 2023, France will invest more than 1.5 billion euros in the field of AI. Four interdisciplinary Artificial Intelligence Institutes have been created in 2019, having for objective to raise French competitiveness by strengthening the scientific and industrial ecosystem.


AS PART of its strategy for innovation, the Embassy of France in South Africa, together with Business France, have decided to fully engage in the AI Expo, the biggest trade event dedicated to Artificial Intelligence on the African continent, by showcasing French expertise through the participation of scientists and innovators. They have joined as Premium Sponsors. French experts and entrepreneurs will showcase their know-how in diverse fields such as augmented mobility, indoor air quality and energy management, collaborative software, augmented reality, massive digitisation of cultural



heritage, complex adaptive systems and humanoid robotics. Through the support and participation of a highlevel delegation, the French Embassy seeks to foster the development of long-term relations between French and South African ecosystems. We will take the opportunity of the biggest artificial intelligence event in Africa to announce a joint French-South African initiative intended for young science-based companies and to promote the next RoboCup, the largest competition of autonomous robotics and AI around the world, taking place in Bordeaux in 2020. Come and meet France at AI Expo! ai


Growing the Next Generation of Problem Solving Champions


Low digital fluency, the ability to leverage technology to create new knowledge, connect earn and work is hindering the progress of many young people in South Africa. 4IR Technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Robotics are accelerating the digital race, but learning and access to learning is a struggle that begins early for many.



ACCORDING TO PWC, nearly two-thirds of employers globally are concerned that they won’t be able to find the people with skills they require to fill these positions. 96% of CEOs in Africa are most concerned about the lack of skills, with Technology and engineering firms struggling the most with the shortage of skilled employees. Growing thinkers Adaptability is important for South African youth to be able to compete globally. The Next Era of Human/Machine Partnerships Report states that 85% of the jobs that will be available in 2030 haven’t even been invented yet. The AI in Africa programme was created to equip learners with 21st century skills will help prepare South Africa for the 4th Industrial Revolution and lay the fundamental building blocks to creating an inclusive society. Under the principle of ‘AI for Good’, we have put hundreds of girls through a social challenge which entails finding an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based solution to one of the 17 UNDP sustainable development goals. So far, our bootcamps have produced over 40 AI driven solutions including Apps developed to tackle education, health and safety.

We are trying to create a generation of creators and innovators, not consumers. Mustapha Zaouini, Technology and Innovation at Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation and CEO of Fliptin says that, “We aim to cause a major mind-set change in the girls, which is fused with the tools to implement new ideas leveraging the technology of tomorrow; a potent combination that capacitates a lifelong way of thinking for success.” The curriculum is designed to improve the quality of thinking through proactive problem solving workshops and the creation of appropriate solutions that take cognisance of social, cultural, environmental and economic factors. The passion and the creativity of the girls is manifested in the amazing results that have resulted from this experience. Owning African intellect AI in Africa is passionate about not only fostering creativity in African youth and developing a problem solving mindset, but also intent on ensuring ownership of the ideas coming out of the workshops. Zaouini points out that data developed from our innovations should belong to Africans, “so that we can extrapolate it, exploit it, and use it to generate models for success.”

The race to patents in on, with 608 AI patents filed with WIPO in 2017. China and the United States are leading the global competition to dominate artificial intelligence (AI), according to a study by the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) published recently. The research found tech giant IBM had by far the biggest AI patent portfolio with 8,920 patents, ahead of Microsoft with 5,930, and a group of mainly Japanese tech conglomerates. We have proven how rigorous our curriculum is, we are keen to partner with like-minded partners who share our passion for the continent and are ready to design the future we all dream of. AI in Africa is a platform for youth from previously disadvantaged communities to apply critical thinking and create innovative solutions to social problems using Artificial Intelligence. AI in Africa is created by Fliptin Venture Builder and the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation. and ai

ABOUT AI IN AFRICA AI in Africa is a social impact programme of Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation and Fliptin Venture Builder. This exciting 3-day bootcamp is open to girls aged 1518 from previously disadvantaged communities to create purposeful, high impact solutions that tackle challenges ranging from community safety to unemployment and education. The AI revolution has begun in Africa, and it’s going to enable us to do more than ever before. We believe girls should be at the center of the changes technology will bring. We aim to give them a head start by immersing them in this intervention. We believe that each girl should have the opportunity to explore opportunities in STEAM careers. We are committed to equipping learners with 21st-century skills, which will help prepare South Africa for the 4th Industrial Revolution and lay the fundamental building blocks to creating an inclusive society. AI in Africa inspires and enables young super citizens to design the Africa of tomorrow and



The AI revolution has begun in Africa, and it’s going to enable us to do more than ever before. We believe girls should be at the center of the changes technology will bring.’ - Mustapha Zaouini, Technology and Innovation at Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation and CEO of Fliptin


or loop – for AI success

The blogsphere is alive with discussions on why so many businesses’ AI initiatives tank, and what that missing link is that makes one AI project an unprecedented success, while the same tech in another project results in a – very expensive – flop.


THE ANSWER is not rocket science, explains business and tech writer, Alexandre Gonfalonieri, it is the human touch. “In most AI projects, companies tend to ignore the human factor. Indeed, AI isn’t just about frameworks, data, and algorithms — it’s also about people.” This is the ‘human in the loop’ concept where both human and machine intelligence are leveraged to create machine learning models.



Despite what the Sci-Fi scare mongering would have us believe, the AI-revolution is not Man vs Machine: it is man and machine, together. It is this concept that is at the core of machine learning product development studio, Predictive Insight’s approach. CEO, Neil Rankin, explains, “the sophistication of the tech is worth nothing unless you have people with a real understanding of the business and the context in which it operates, driving it – you need the ‘human in the loop’ to give depth to the data, and to inform the tech.” It is akin to buying the latest, sleekest sports car, and expecting it to drive without a driver, destination or even a clear road on which to drive. “We see this repeatedly with our clients: relying on just humans, or just machines, will always give you bad predictions,” says Rankin, “People mistake random noise for patterns; they overweight recent occurrences relative to longer-term trends; and have difficulty accessing and assessing the large amounts of data which might help inform forecasts; while machines struggle to understand the wider economic and behavioural context.

So, for each client we tailor a product from our suite of machine learning and econometric models, with the client’s bespoke data, as well as external data pertinent to their industry, such as weather, local economic conditions or days of the week. The machine’s accuracy, with the right tuning from Predictive Insight’s experts, also improves with time as it starts to learn

“AI isn’t just about frameworks, data, and algorithms — it’s also about people.”

more about the patterns in the data.” “So many AI projects fail because the focus is on the tech, rather than on the appropriateness of the tech or using that tech to answer an actionable business question,” says Rankin. You need people who really understand the context in which the business operates to ask the right question, to collect the right data, to produce the right insights and, crucially, to understand how predictions made by AI can be translated into a business’ specific processes. “This is key,” explains Rankin, “it takes human insight, that is deep business and behavioural insights, to really get the best out of a business’ data and the tech. While we certainly get all geeky excited about AI technology, we also recognise that the tech cannot work in isolation.” In the end, while we all laud the efficiencies and knowledge that comes with AI, we also still have to rely on human insight to get the job done properly, or with, well, intelligence. Predictive Insights is a machine learning product development studio that engages the thoughtful use of data science, machine learning and behavioural understanding to deliver valuable, actionable insights to improve business efficiency and profitability. ai For more: Visit Predictive Insights’ booth at AI Expo Africa 2019


innovative solutions, great opportunities, and successful stories

We believe that the smartest solutions for AI and Data Science problems start with innovative thinking. And what we mean by “innovative” is that we study the problem in ways that cover every single cause you can imagine. We believe that the problem and the challenge start with DATA.

Telling the Real Story Telling the real story is hard, but that is what we aim to do every time we accept a challenge, knowing that a real story means the real perception of the whole view. We design the 360 dimensions of each hard problem, each dimension represents a degree of success towards reality. That degree might be an unpredictable source of data or an insight that is behind the scenes, but makes the complete show scenario.

The Problem is with DATA Back to DATA, collecting Data is not a hard job in the United States or China for example, where data portals and open data infrastructures exist. But when it comes to most MENA and African countries , it is hard to say that there’s available data (in hand) at first. Data is everywhere, but finding and getting data is the challenge, and dealing with “privacy policies”, accuracy, bias, and many more, is another challenge.

Data Aurora, a team of great data scientists and industry analysts, provides innovative solutions for the hardest AI and Data Science challenges facing top tech companies in the world!



Co-Founder and Data Scien�st, Data Aurora

The Innovative 360 Degrees Strategy We build intelligent platforms to help finding and analyzing data by bringing different data sources in an innovative way to help improving and validating AI systems especially where no AI infrastructure is available, and to fill the missing part of the story. What is meant, is that we assess the need, we design our 360 degrees strategy for data collection and insights invention, we combine them with different methods from different sciences to optimize the model (behavioral sciences, laws, business, economy, social, philosophy, and math, and finally, we propose a real and unique solution. Solutions might have different dimensions as well. Working for Social Good towards SDGs is one of our main focus nowadays, where we had the honor of working with different UN agencies and non-profit organizations towards improving social societies, applying our Computational Anthropology models.

AI Transformation for Small Businesses No matter how small your business is, or where and how it works, we disagree with those who say that AI transformation needs huge resources and latest technology infrastructures. In this regard, we were able to transform businesses in different countries (UAE, Germany, Lebanon, Switzerland, Tunis, Egypt, Canada..) and from different industries (Tech, Education, Media, Transportation, Healthcare, Environment, and more) into fully and partially intelligent ones, thus we believe that we are part of the global AI transformation.

Join Data Aurora at AI Expo Africa 2019 Whether you are looking for partnership, collabora�on, or advice and willing to share experiences and success stories, we welcome you at our booth (Innova�on Cafe #17) during Sep 4th and 5th 2019. Our Senior Data Scien�st and Co-Founder, Mr. Srour, will also be available for B2B mee�ngs and selec�ve collabora�ons two days before the show. You can reach him directly at:


We often assume that facts and statistics are passive. That they are things 'out there' that we can use as we wish, for good or for bad. But the way we engage with data changes us. What we see and don't see matters. If there's a lion in the bush but we don't know, our heartbeat doesn't go up. Conversely if someone shouts "watch out" we panic whether or not there's real danger. Similarly exposure to all media, whether advertising or encyclopaedias, manipulates our understanding of the world and therefore our reaction to it. With the rise of ubiquitous cell phones and powerful social media, the negative manipulation of facts and information has become very noticeable. Recent examples abound, from the rise of flat earthers driven by YouTube videos, to anti-vaxxer movements based on known falsehoods. These thought bubbles spread easily across the world, including to South Africa. While concerning, trying to promote accurate facts doesn't touch on the primary problem. It's active emotional manipulation that traps and coerces people. In human beings, outrage creates a powerful urge to act and so most news articles are designed to drive these strong negative emotions. It's just unfortunate that positive emotions, like peace and contentment, don't make people engage with sites like Facebook as much as they'd like. But FOMO does. Fear of social exclusion does. Facebook and others knowingly exploit these human weaknesses with abandonment. In 2012 Facebook admitted to trying to make thousands of their users emotional to test their algorithms. And there is also evidence that advertising and social media affected both the USA and Brexit elections, as well as social conditions in countries like Myanmar and others across the world. We do not have the option of disengaging with the world. And besides, the upsides of social media and AI technology are too great to throw out with the bad. However we do have the opportunity to say that leaving control of our inner lives to global monopolistic companies is turning out to be a bad idea. It's also not encouraging that solutions like government regulation, requiring global cooperation, are dampened by these very effects which by their nature tend to create more insular and antagonistic thought bubbles. So initial solutions are more likely to come from the bottom up. And there are many possibilities, all of which are worth exploring.

The increase in subscription models, which replaces the advertising model, is a good step towards removing the incentive to manipulate behaviour. Although this doesn't completely remove the possibility for manipulation to occur, it at least moves some control to the subscriber. The use of standard terms and conditions is another. These are currently too long to read or understand and are heavily biased towards the company. But in 2018 even Facebook was forced to accept a particular type of licence for some of their free development tools simply through pressure from the development community. Similarly it might be possible for users to require their own terms and conditions, rather than being forced to accept whatever is given. Perhaps most importantly, users should become aware of how they use their time and how they would like their attention to be focused. The social media companies don't want people to look up and realise what's happening, but a simple realisation of how many times people use their phones can already mitigate this affect. There are many positives to take from the coming age, and as developers and a global community we should increasingly realise that our goal is not simply money and growth. It is also towards our civilisation at large and the general well-being of people. The dawn of real AI to improve lives is coming and the moment to guide that future towards one we all want is now. ImplicitDesign is a software development company that builds customised, useful software systems. We work closely with technical and non-technical clients to automate business processes, business logic or enhance productivity, as easily and painlessly as possible. We have a streamlined and effective development process complemented by skilled staff using latest technologies. The products we create include mobile apps, databases, machine learning and systems integration. Tel: 021 447 2383 Web:

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Introducing AI To Your Company

This article was written and shared on the OfferZen blog. OfferZen is an online tech marketplace that connects South Africa’s top tech talent with over 1000 companies who are working to grow their teams. We flip the normal recruitment process on its head because companies reach out to candidates who are actively looking for new opportunities. Our mission is to help people unlock their potential by helping them build awesome software. For more information, visit: By Dries Cronje

Things to keep in mind while working through the guideline: • “Only sith lords deal in absolutes” - I’m not putting a time limit on steps, nor am I telling you what technology to use - explore, take risks - you will know what technology is a fit, and you will know when you are ready to move on to the next phase. • “Explore/Exploit” - in the beginning, try many different technologies and ideas (explore), and as you go along consolidate (exploit), BUT never stop exploring completely.

• Statistics, • Deep learning, • Machine learning, • Domain knowledge and • Presenting the findings and results in an engaging manner. Tip 4: Make learning part of the process: Every cycle should inform how you go about your next one, so really look at your metrics, how the business responds to your report and what has worked or not worked. Tip 5: Tell the story. This is super important because if you can’t effectively communicate the value to the rest of the business, none of what you’ve achieved or learned will matter. That’s why you should: • Tell your story in a visual and engaging manner. • Not use bullet points on a slide - this is super boring. Once you’ve done this and gathered feedback, repeat!

Stage 1: Solve a simple problem This step is about building confidence within your company and showing the value of AI to them. You don’t want to spend too much time in this first step we are optimising for short iterations so you quickly have something to show for your efforts. Think: Short Build Measure - Learn - Repeat - Cycles. Else it might look like you’re just throwing spaghetti on the wall or you could be wasting months on something that doesn’t end up working out. Tip 1: That’s why you should choose a simple problem and favour those that have labeled data in abundance. Tip 2: Based on this, choose a clear metric to measure success. AI is supposed to improve something and you need a benchmark to compare its performance against. Tip 3: Build a team. It’s hard to do everything by yourself. Two to four people whose skills complement each other is ideal to build powerful systems - you stay lean and keep the management overhead low. Some useful skills are: • Data engineering, • Analytics,

Stage 2: Natural Progression (Automate, scale) After having created excitement for your AI-efforts, this step is about collaboration, automation and scaling. You’re expanding to other teams, growing your own and reduce manual efforts. At this point, people and departments in the company have started coming to you with buildrequests that are larger and more complex than your first projects. You won’t be able to maintain the manual labor you and your team have put in in step 1 and you’ll have to scale. You’ll also know you’ve moved into step 2 once you start asking yourself the following questions: • Where would you do AI without interfering with existing production systems? • How do I scale this? • What tools do I use? • What are the roles going to be when the team grows? Tip 1: Now it’s time to think cloud. Avoid platforms trying to lock you in - the best platforms follow industry-proven best practise and let you plug-and-play. Tip 2: Should you go this route, go for a consulting partner


AI IS mature enough to add value to most industries. However, introducing it to your company can be quite daunting because there are no off-the-shelf-solutions or silver bullets. I have been through the same scenario a few times and have taken notes. Here’s a three-stage process that will get you started.



” “

Stage 3: AI as a platform This step is all about exponentially taking advantage of AI across the entire business. You and your team now have a number of successful projects with different departments under your belt. You have created enough excitement in the company to move into the next phase and turn your AI efforts into an API that people can easily make use of: Growth from solving individual problems is linear growth from an always-available and easy-tointegrate platform is exponential. Think Google and how AI is used across services and products. Tip 1: Take everything that was useful to a handful of people or departments individually and make it available at scale across boundaries to the rest of the organization. Tip 2: In order to be effective, your AI-API has to be part

Golden rule: If it’s useful to one department, it’s probably useful to other departments.

• You can expect exponential growth - If you make even incremental value accessible to several different departments, your API’s value grows exponentially. Google would never have been able to build quite so many products in such a short span of time had they not made their AI available across their different platforms. • You’re possibly opening up new opportunities you didn’t even know possible. ai

Dries is the AI lead at vehicle recovery company Tracker. Designing AI and cloud strategies, supported by tools and processes, is at the core of his daily endeavour towards AI excellence. When not building AI systems, Dries speaks at events, co-organises the Google Developer Group Cloud MeetUp and blogs.


It’s easy to forget in this step, but remember to stay lean: Build - Measure Learn in short cycles.

of a bigger data strategy (or, alternatively: If your company doesn’t yet have an explicated data strategy, this might be a good forcing function to implement one) .The following issues will have to be addressed, to name a few: • Privacy concerns, • Security - who do you give access to what and • Cost. Building an AI-API is obviously not a cheap undertaking. But while the cost, both time-wise and financially is big, the rewards are huge: • It makes your entire business run more effectively and efficiently - AI doesn’t just have to have outward-facing benefits. It all starts by freeing capacity and optimising processes.


who is willing to get involved - avoid sales pitches from suits. Tip 3: Create data processing pipelines. Manually data processing takes huge amounts of time and has to happen ongoingly. Automating these processes is the easiest way to create value quickest.

Have you unlocked the value of your data? We may be living longer, but our businesses are dying younger. In 1964 the average lifespan of a listed American company was 33 years; that number is predicted to fall to just 12 years by 2027, according to a recent study by Innosight. Much of the corporate carnage is a result of rapidly changing consumer needs, and the speed at which new competitors will capitalise on any opportunity you give them.


THAT THE world is changing faster than ever before is obvious. How to understand what changes are happening and what you should do about them is less clear. Business leaders everywhere are increasingly looking to the data their companies generate for answers; hidden in those ones and zeros are patterns that can help their businesses survive, and thrive.



Is that sand you’re building on? The proliferation of data, and the value concealed within it, has spawned the Data Science industry. This relatively new breed of worker takes your data and extracts insights you can use to make better decisions. Like any scientist though, the viability of their conclusions depends on the quality of the inputs they use, in this case, data. It would be splendid if data presented itself in an orderly fashion. But it doesn’t. The number of different systems that data is housed in, the numerous formats in which it is captured, and its sheer volume growth make it wild and wandering in nature. Before it can be analysed, data must be organised. Getting data ready for analysis is not a new problem, and solutions already exist. Most are rules-based

programming fixes. But as data complexity ratchets upwards, so the number of rules will need to increase, as well as the time and money spent on developing them. A day will come where data becomes too beastly for humans to control on their own. Thankfully, there is a better way — and it involves using powerful machines. Data that helps you Imagine you had a consolidated view of your customers and what they’d bought from you; would you be able to sell them more? Imagine you could see exactly what you’ve been buying from which suppliers and at what cost; could you save money with that information? What if you knew your business better than competitors knew their own; do you think it would help you survive, thrive? No matter the scale, diversity and complexity of your data, getting a unified view of your customers, suppliers, stock, people, and subsidiaries is now possible with the help of machine learning. The future is automated Instead of relying on intensive human driven instruction, DataSeed employs a unique machine learning process to intelligently unify enterprise data at scale into one easily accessible master record, identifying, for example, that Lerato Ngidi in one system is the same as L. Ngidi in another, even if there is no unique identifier. Because the DataSeed algorithms ‘learn’, the engine classifies your data more accurately as time passes, reducing the need for human interaction in your data unification efforts. This will give you more time to make decisions critical to the sustainability and prosperity of your business using clean, reliable data. ai Contact Data Seed for a demo and to explore how we can help you unlock the value hidden in your data: Murray Kuiper +27 72 212 4000

One source. Infinite growth. API



Michael Sanchez 724 350 4487 80 Spruce Drive, PA

Mike Sanchez 724 350 4487 80 Spruce Drive, Pennsylvania


DataSeed’s machine learning engine combined with human expertise, unifies your data into one, easily accessible and up-to-date version of the transforming, turning disparate data inta a valuable business asset. To schedule a demo, contact: Murray Kuiper E: | C: +27 72 212 4000


Mikey Sanchez 724 350 4497 80 Spruce Road, PA



your AI journey Many companies are reluctant to start their AI journey because of the anticipated increased demands that the project will place on team members and infrastructure resources. There is also a negative influence coming from a strong fear of failure in attempting a new AI project. This usually stems from a lack of knowledge in the domain and not utilising the right partners.


THE REALITY is that the AI journey is a process and not a once off exercise. If the project can be viewed in this manner, companies find it easier to start the project and remain agile with regards to their expected outcomes.



Kevin Derman, CEO of Kaskade.Cloud, a company that focuses on cloud migrations and AI on AWS, explains that the strategy they recommend with a company embarking on the AI journey, is to identify quick wins and to achieve these within a short period of time. “We utilise AWS’s prebuilt AI services like Rekognition and Textract, to bring value to our clients within weeks instead of months and years of development.”, says Derman, “Most customers are delighted with the outcome, and are then motivated to tackle bigger machine learning projects, that will deliver exponential value.”. Some real life examples of AI usage that can be addressed in this manner are: • Sentiment Analysis of Social Media to understand brands and peoples social capital • Adding Chat Bots to web sites to address typical queries 24/7

“We utilise AWS’s prebuilt AI services like Rekognition and Textract, to bring value to our clients within weeks instead of months and years of development.”,

• Extracting text from hand written documents to speed up the form capturing process • Providing upsell purchasing recommendations on ecommerce sites • Anomaly detection in IoT devices • Facial detection for reception • Sales forecasting Moving on to bigger machine learning projects involves defining the business problem, analysing the data, developing the models, training and optimising the models, and then finally deploying the model. One then needs to continuously evaluate the integrity of the model to identify if further training is required. With regards to accelerating this process, Kaskade utilises AWS Sagemaker, a fully-managed service that covers the entire machine learning workflow. This eliminates the need to manage the underlying infrastructure. Amazon SageMaker sets up a distributed compute cluster, performs the training, outputs the result to Amazon S3, and tears down the cluster when complete.  Machine learning models get to production faster with much less effort and lower cost. “Our aim is to make machine learning accessible to all companies big and small. Previously, this technology was the domain of enterprise companies who could afford the high cost. Now a startup can afford to access this technology and scale the solution as they grow.” concludes Derman. ai

Silicon Cape hosts AI CoP


July saw Silicon Cape hosting the first of what we hope will be many Community of Practice (CoP) workshops. In collaboration with the Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa (MIIA) and AI Media Africa, we invited stakeholders from across the AI community, including representatives from academia, provincial and local government, business and media, to come together for the launch of an AI CoP for the Western Cape.



THE EVENT was held at the InvestSA One-Stop-Shop in Cape Town earlier this week and featured insights from Dr Nick Bradshaw, Co-founder of AI Expo Africa, and Alderman James Vos of the City of Cape Town. It was facilitated by Kerry Petrie, an ex-Silicon Cape General Manager who is now an independent Learning Facilitator. The aim of the AI CoP was to look at ways the Western Cape could embrace and unlock the business, social, investment and educational opportunities that are exploding in our region thanks to AI, and link to the activity of the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution at a national level.

(Community of Practice)


Infrastructure To take the AI CoP forward, Silicon Cape will convene workshops on each of the outcome areas - allowing community members to contribute where they feel they can add value. For the CoP to gain momentum, it would be helpful to find champions for each outcome area. Champions will have practical support from Silicon Cape to convene meetings. The full CoP aims to meet quarterly. If you are interested in joining any of the Silicon Cape Community of Practice events and would like to participate in further discussions regarding the AI CoP or suggest a theme for the next CoP, please get in touch via: ai


The CoP’s vision statement is for a future where: • The Western Cape leads AI innovation to drive social change and economic growth • The CoP also identified the following key outcome focus areas that the community would like to impact: • Skills & Education • Finance & Investment • Policy & Legislation (with particular reference to a need for Data Liberation & Access) • Messaging & Adoption (including the need for a shared vocabulary, positive stories and adoption use cases)

LEVERAGING MACHINE Learning and AI for collective innovation in Africa Zindi is a social-enterprise start-up whose mission is to build the largest data science ecosystem in Africa. Our vision at Zindi is to unleash the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning on the region’s most pressing problems, and we do this by convening a growing community of over 4,000 data scientists around Africa’s toughest business and social challenges. Zindi is excited to celebrate its 1-year anniversary at this AI Expo Africa 2019.


GROWING NEED for enhanced data maturity. African organisations are generating massive amounts of data, but they are unsure about how to leverage it for organisational impact. Due to this uncertainty, they either stall and do nothing or expend significant resources bringing in “experts” from outside of Africa to help. But this misses a huge opportunity to draw on local talent. African data scientists represent an untapped wealth of resources, possessing exceptional technical capabilities in addition to a deeper understanding of the context, the market, and ultimately what the solution needs to look like. These pools of data scientists are filled with talented engineers and scientists trying to get more experience in data science,



Figure 1. Zindi data science ecosystem

looking for opportunities to solve problems relevant to their own markets, and if you are still relatively new to the field you are also struggling to just get a foot in the door. Bridging the divide between solution-seekers and problem-solvers. Zindi is an online platform that hosts competitions and a community of mostly African data scientists that apply machine learning and AI techniques to solve Africa’s toughest challenges. We provide an inexpensive and frictionless ecosystem for matching proven analytics and data science resources to existing needs. Zindi works with organisations to develop, curate, Continued on page 48

AI -

Silver bullet or shiny new toy? If you have been in sales or consulting or any permutation in between you may well have been exposed to the hype stage of a new technology, product or service - effectively where Artificial Intelligence is at the moment. In this phase any self-respecting IT Exec and even CEO has it on their scorecard and this is appropriate since Artificial Intelligence and its cornucopia of sub-disciplines do indeed hold a profound promise for business and humanity as a whole.

HOWEVER, AS often occurs in this life stage of the technology is that there are those that think AI is the holy grail, the ultimate turn-key solution - just waiting to be switched on.


In truth, while it is an extremely powerful technology it is still in its infancy. It also must be integrated into existing IT infrastructure which includes legacy systems in order to provide the business with true digital transformation and the realisation of business benefit.



If AI vendors fail to do this, AI solutions end up as mere “point” remedies which unfortunately tend to do little for the existing value chain. What this means is that businesses should be wary of vendors advocating turn-key AI solutions - which just need to be ‘turned-on” for business benefits to flow - as this is rarely the case. AI can be viewed like a new employee – straight from school or university. In order for it to be inculcated with the basics of any business domain or more specifically excel at automation of a business process, it requires a significant amount of training, and thereafter hand holding is still required until it is able to perform at a level sufficient for the specific application. In truth, for those of us who have

been around the block for some time, there are some basic disciplines and rules for those who are looking at utilising Artificial intelligence in their businesses. These rules are as relevant as they’ve ever been and they involve action, strategy and a partnership with both parties prepared to go on a learning journey, namely: Develop a sound business roadmap by unlocking the lowest hanging fruits for your industry or domain and prioritising those that will bring the most benefit and are achievable with the current maturity of the requisite AI sub-disciplines; Partner with a specialist team that has both the business-savvy, the AI experience and the rigour and discipline to ensure a successful outcome and sticks around post implementation to ensure same; Understand that you are in new territory and success is incremental and that those that prioritise continued learning and optimisation are those that will win the game. Your organisation will have to be part of this continuing learning journey and failure to do so can be the largest barrier to success; and Continued on page 46

ALESSANDRO VIGNAZIA Alessandro has over twentytwo years Information Technology consulting experience in leading organisations across the Middle East & Africa. He began his career with PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting and subsequently held senior positions at IBM Consulting, where he held several positions namely the IBM Consulting Artificial Intelligence lead for Middle East & Africa and the IBM Consulting Analytics, Optimisation & Information Management Lead for Southern Africa. He is currently the Founding Director of Lightblue Cognitive Solutions an Artificial Intelligence boutique consultancy and software solutions IT Startup. Alessandro is passionate about new technologies such as intelligent automation and its real-world application to achieve economic and social benefit.


Your AI journey starts with Lightblue. A future-facing company, offering bespoke or off-the-shelf AI solutions, proven to reduce or eliminate repetitive tasks within your value chain, through Intelligent Automation. With over two decades in this business, we’ve been growing our experience since AI was just a sci-fi dream. As tech matures, the world will open up for businesses, but right now, our focus is on understanding where the biggest immediate benefits lie and accelerating clients on their journey with customised or existing modular solutions. Whether you want to start with something simple like chatbots, to improve customer engagement, or digital assistants, to improve operational efficiency. Or even something more challenging, to enable new business models, Lightblue combines innovative thinking with practical business understanding, to ensure your i’s are dotted, t’s are crossed, and all the ones and zeroes are perfectly in place. To embark on your AI journey, visit

lightblue cognitive solutions


Will Make Major Announcement at Ai Expo Africa 2019 Wits University is pleased to announce it will be sending a high-level delegation to this year’s AI Expo Africa where it will launch a major research initiative that is intended to bring about a step change in scientific research and commercialisation in Africa.

AI EXPO Africa is the largest business focused Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data Science community event in Africa, and takes place on 4 and 5 September in Cape Town. Professor Zeblon Vilakazi, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research and Postgraduate Affairs, will be leading the delegation that includes Professor Brian Armstrong, Head of the BCX Chair in Digital Business at Wits Business School and the first Secretary of the 4IRSA-initiative, and Professor Dean Brady, Director of the Molecular Science Institute. In addition to launching the initiative, Professor Vilakazi

will participate on a Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) panel to discuss how this new initiative will serve as a model for 4IR innovation and growth in Africa. [Read more about Wits’ contribution to 4IR research and innovation here: www.wits. AI Expo was chosen as the launch event for the initiative due to its collaborative nature spanning academia and industry throughout Africa. Some of the attendees to join the Wits delegation at this year’s conference include the Ambassador of France to South Africa, Christophe Farnaud, and the Head of the AI for Good Global Summit. ai

AI - Silver bullet or shiny new toy? 3RD QUARTER 2019

Continued from page 44



Open up to new techniques and practices, as maturing an AI solution from conception to minimum viable product to production in this new paradigm demands a fresh mindset which embraces change alongside the discipline required to make it come to fruition. So, if you are interested in incorporating AI as


part of your overall IT ecosystem, you might need to shift your thinking in terms of this being a shiny new toy for your business. Be prepared to do the work required to reap the benefits of this game changing technology – it will only perform like a silver bullet once it has been appropriately honed. As ever, a pragmatic approach to any of your selected business challenges is still the best way to embark on any new roadmap. ai

Lightblue Cognitive Solutions is a specialised consultancy & software development house focussed on intelligent automation. We provide businesses with a clear path on how to use artificial intelligence and robotic process automation to reduce and ultimately eliminate repetitive tasks as well as enabling new business models & processes through innovation. We have built solutions spanning Cognitive Analytics, Chatbots, Email Automation and Contact Centre Agent Assistant solutions and we have exciting engagements on the go in the speech recognition domain for South African accents, LiveChat, Legal Discovery as well as leveraging machine learning to train predictive analytical models. We are official IBM Watson and LivePerson business partners and also leverage services from Google, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft in our solutions. Our current clients include: Santam, Sanlam, Visa, Truworths & Deloitte.

Learning and AI for collective innovation in Africa Continued from page 42 and prepare data-driven competitions, to solve their specific problems and attract the best data science talent in Africa. The platform also offers experienced and budding data scientists (the solution providers) the opportunity to build their professional profiles and skills, access job opportunities and cash prizes, and connect with their peers throughout the region. Increasing appetite for crowd-sourced machine learning solutions. The Zindi platform continues to grow from strength to strength. Since launching in September 2018 at AI Expo Africa, Zindi has developed and curated 14 competitions and awarded $30,000 USD in prizes. The competitions represent diverse uses-cases and span several African countries, and they would not have been possible without the competition hosts and strategic partners that Zindi has collaborated with since launching. Some examples of competitions include: Demand prediction: Uber, Mobiticket, and insight2impact facility challenged data scientists to predict demand for public transportation into Nairobi, Kenya. $12,000 USD were awarded in prizes. Crop classification: FarmPin, Liquid Telecom, and Cortex Logic are sourcing solutions that identify the type of crops growing on different fields using satellite imagery data. Prizes up to $10,000 USD are up for grabs. Art generation: AI Media and Cortex Ventures challenged data scientists to use AI to create an original

piece of artwork and music. Prizes to the value of $3,000 will be awarded, in addition to the artwork being auctioned off during AI Expo. Soil humidity prediction: Wazihub and Microsoft have collaborated on a challenge seeking predictions of soil humidity using sensor data from low-cost DIY Internet of Things to assist farmers in Senegal to manage their water usage efficiently. Prizes to the value of $8,000 are up for grabs. Empowering communities of data scientists across Africa. Although it’s only been nine months since the first competition kicked off, we already have over 4,000 registered data scientists from Africa and beyond. Insights from Google Analytics reveal that Zindi has reached at least one user in nearly every country in the world, with the highest number of users from South Africa (4,508 unique users), followed by Kenya (4,193) and Nigeria (3,389). In addition to the growth of the platform, Zindi has collaborated with Zindi Ambassadors in six African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Ghana, Tunisia, Tanzania, Senegal) who are data science and AI specialists. The Ambassadors are leaders in their local data communities and organise regular meetups and events that support young, local, data talent. Don’t wait too long to take advantage of machine learning and AI. Organizations that are interested in hosting a competition can contact Zindi for a free consultation. Data scientists can enter competitions on the Zindi platform by registering at For more information, contact ai












Figure 2. Summary map of Zindi users Source: Google Analytics, 31 July 2019

CAN ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE help us tackle the pressing issues in Africa?

“The rise of powerful AI will be either the best or the worst thing ever to happen to humanity. We do not yet know which.” Scientist Stephen Hawking spoke these noteworthy words in 2016. We haven’t made much progress in resolving the issue he raised. We still don’t know if AI will deliver the greatest or the most horrible outcomes of humanity. by Silent Dzikiti Junior Data Scientist, Global Stalls





LET’S LOOK at a few challenges that we are currently facing: 1) Economic Inequality: Using the most recent figures from World Bank 10 of the world’s 19 most unequal countries are in sub-Saharan Africa. 2) Food Hunger: World hunger estimates undernourishment rose from 777-million in 2015 to 821-million in 2017. Africa has the highest prevalence of undernourishment, estimated in 2016 to be 20% of the population. This is especially alarming in Eastern Africa, where it is suspected that one-third of the population is undernourished. 3) Unemployment: World Bank stats show that unemployment is high among young Africans, constituting about 60% of jobless people in Africa. 4) Education: UNESCO study shows Africa has the highest rates of educational exclusion in the world. Over one-fifth of children between the ages of 6 and 11 and one-third between the ages of 12 and 14 are out of school. Almost 60% of children in sub-Saharan Africa between the ages of 15 and 17 are not in school.

Artificial Intelligence: A Great Potential for Good. Agriculture: The traditional way to increase food production is to expand farmable land. But nearly half of the planet’s potentially productive farmland is already used for agriculture. Combine that with the realities of fragile ecosystems, the impact of global warming and it’s clear that we need to go beyond the traditional if we hope to solve the world hunger issue. Instead of the “pray-and-spray” approach, farmers can now use the herbicide application, a typical example is the LettuceBot from Blue River which is working to distinguish between a weed and a sprout of lettuce based on learning from more than a million images of 5,000 young plants. When it identifies a weed, it sprays it directly. This cut losses by up to 90%. Data from drones, remote sensors, satellites, and smart farm equipment provides farmers with valuable real-time information on soil, crop health, and weather conditions. This intelligence helps farmers make smarter decisions on where to grow crops, how to optimize crop rotations, and when to sow, compost, and harvest those crops. Education: Virtual Reality learning possibilities: Seeing is believing, many of the young kids in the rural areas lack exposure and many have never been to towns. One of the biggest achievements of technology is providing people with experiences they didn’t have a chance to try before. Virtual reality-technologies give us a chance to visit places we’ve never been to and do something we’ve never done. For education, virtual reality is more than just a tool of entertainment. Students will have a chance to get closer to things they learn about — space and nature, complex projects and concepts. Engineering: AI can be used in the active computation of losses. By using smart pipes with sensors that can actually communicate or rather feel the amount of water in the pipe and be able to tell how much they losing then we can Continued on page 54

Conversational AI Assistants


AI Assistant

Monday 9:02

Hi David,

I saw you downloaded information from our website. Can I provide you with any additional information to better understand our product? Best regards, Michelle



Tuesday 23:17

Hi Michelle,

Thank you for the quick reply. Yes, I do have some questions about your product. I am free Thursday. Best, David

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Tuesday 23:26

Hi David,

Our sales manager Michael can help you and would like to give you a call. Is +27 11 978 1234 the best number to reach you on during the day? Many thanks, Michelle

From Hi Michelle,


Best, David


Wednesday 10:12

Hi David,

AI Assistant

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No problem. Michael will call you this coming Thursday.

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Visit to learn more © 2018 Conversica, Inc. All rights reserved.

REGTECH THAT HELPS THE Chief Information Officer AND Chief Marketing Officer


Ever been in a growth or innovation meeting where someone identifies a ‘what if’ scenario around data? What if we knew this?  Everyone gets very excited by this new idea until there is a realization what about data privacy?  What about the regulations? This bright spark of innovation is snuffed out as the conversation turns to what you can’t do rather than what you can do.  This can be very true of AI related innovation ideas because the value is complex to understand whereas the data privacy ‘truth’ often seems simple.  Even when the data privacy angle is seen to covered, a second issue that can arise is trust - do we trust the other party with our valuable intellectual property?



SOMETIMES THIS discussion might have been with another organisation but crazily sometimes even within your own organisation. What if there was a way to share data to explore growth and innovation without any data privacy or trust concerns? Welcome to   Identity Resolution Personal Information is very valuable to share in analytics exercises for one key reason – identity resolution.  Identity resolution is to science of being able to link information to the same person and this concept is critical to analysis and insights regarding customers.  Personal Information shouldn’t vary across organisations and there are many forms of it so it’s very useful for linking data together.   Protection of Personal Information  Data privacy regulations require organisations to protect the Personal Information that customers give to them in two key ways:  security and utility.  The security requirement usually makes the newspapers – ever heard of a data “breach”?  This happens when a 3rd party removed the data without consent.  Utility relates to using the Personal Information the business gathered in line with the consent the customer gave when it was gathered – do what you say you will.  Customers have the right to change their consent regarding the use of this data and some data privacy regulations require consent to be a process that is maintained for certain activities.   Anonymisation is what you need If data is anonymised, this means that the individual can no longer be identified.  In this scenario, data privacy regulations no longer apply provided the data

is anonymised. Anonymisation is the ULTIMATE way to protect Personal Information – privacy regulations (and customers trust) can’t be breached because even if the information is stolen, none of it links to the individual. 3rd party services aren’t the easy answer Appointing a ‘trusted’ third party as a service provider isn’t a simple solution because the 3rd party needs to receive the Personal Information and will act as an ‘operators’ or ‘controllers’. Contracts may promise to indemnify you as the Responsible Party that gathered the data but they can’t indemnify your Brand. These processes can be slow and expensive, and the service providers sometimes have conflicts of interest because of their other business activities. A new market standard in anonymisation to enable data sharing is a technology solution that enables data sharing by anonymising all Personal Information on premise behind organisational firewalls so no Personal Information leaves the organisation.  Within this environment, the technology translates the Personal Information into irreversible hashes in memory and then sends the hashes to our highly secure Azure cloud. All analysis and insights are generated in our independent, highly secure Azure cloud and all activity is subject to dual consent of the collaborating parties.  Neither party receives the raw information which helps significantly ease any trust concerns especially on initial engagements. An “overlap” analysis of two organisational customer bases can happen in hours and the technology costs less than hiring a graduate. Reinvigorate your growth and innovation pipeline and join our secure data sharing community today! ai

ZEBRA TECHNOLOGIES to Showcase Solutions for Industry at AI Expo Africa

Zebra empowers the front line of business in retail/ecommerce, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare and other industries to achieve a performance edge.

ZEBRA AND its network of more than 10,000 PartnerConnect partners innovate industry-tailored, end-to-end solutions for the enterprise edge . Zebra’s solutions incorporate mobile computing, barcode scanning, RFID, printing, location and motion sensing technologies to elevate the shopping experience, track and manage inventory as well as improve supply chain efficiency and patient care. Zebra empowers the front line of business in retail/ecommerce, manufacturing, transportation and logistics, healthcare and other industries to achieve a performance edge. Celebrating our 50th year of technology expertise, leadership and innovation, Zebra today employs 7,000 people in 115 offices across 50 countries. Since the inception of its first printing prototypes in the late 1960s, Zebra has evolved into a trusted advisor to its partners and customers based on its legacy of

innovation to help transform the enterprise. • As digital technology transforms the edge of the enterprise, Zebra’s purpose-driven design builds in ease of use, security and ruggedness with front-line users, workplace and workflows in mind. Zebra enables customers to create smart, datapowered environments to better reflect what is happening at the edge of their operations rather than relying on traditional systems of record. And connected, collaborative mobile workflows powered by Zebra innovations allow the front line to optimize in-motion operations while linking together teams, assets and systems to deliver best-action guidance for business-critical decisions in real time. ai Visit the Zebra Technologies stand at AI Expo Africa 2019

Can Artificial Intelligence help us tackle the pressing issues in Africa? 3RD QUARTER 2019

Continued from page 50



tackle the issues of pipe leakages that contribute a great percentage of Non-Revenue Water (NRW) that are costing the majority of local government millions of dollars. NRW is the difference between the volume of water supplied and the volume of water billed for a particular region. For example, an analysis carried out in one of the cities in Zimbabwe in 2012 revealed that the NRW for the city to be 69% or 102,413m3/ day which amounts to a revenue loss of $11.968mil/annum. With so many losses, using smart pipes eliminates the need of having to regularly have personnel check the pipes and thus operation and maintenance costs are reduced. The pipes will have some degree of independence and make their own decisions without human intervention. In addition, water is conserved especially in regions with serious water shortages. Special thanks to Prisca Nyamukondiwa for her work and contribution. A positive view of the future I believe tackling some of Africa’s most pressing concerns using the new technologies will make a lasting impact. AI and other technologies do have the power to solve some of Africa’s

grand challenges, and we should approach the potential with a positive view as the AI will enable us as humans to do and be much more just like electricity did in the industrial revolution. It’s exciting to see a number of AI start-ups in South Africa and across the continent. Now is the time for more constructive conversations, for the exchange of ideas, and for more collaborations between futurists, technologists, entrepreneurs, and innovators. AI offers the chance to overcome obstacles and create new marketplaces that will benefit everyone. I am looking forward to a great discussion! ai

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GENII AI, a Cape Town based machine learning company has developed and successfully commercialised predictive models that inform customer behaviours to improve customer services and retention. Customer expectations are rapidly evolving and demands for fast and convenient service have never been higher. This has a tremendous impact on Customer Services. At the upcoming Ai Expo Africa 2019 Genii Ai will share two practical applied case studies to show how brands were enabled with Ai models using machine learning, together with customer journey conflict mapping, to engage their customers before they call, churn or complain to realise ROI of more than 500%. They will present real case studies – NO THEORY – where Ai was applied to predict future Customer Service demands to provide proactive service to customers to reduce customer effort and improve CX. Ai and Machine Learning is nothing new, but applying Ai to solve business challenges, with a clear ROI, is quite unique in the customer services arena. Genii Ai has done just that and continues to be pioneers of applied Ai to solve real business problems in the 4th Industrial Revolution. They have managed to develop Ai solutions that not only de-risk projects during the deployment phase but are cost effective in the way they automate the data and platform to enable the algorithms. Thus, making Ai more accessible to a greater market to leverage the benefits of AI. The AI Expo Africa 2018 which is held from 4 - 5 September at the Century City Conference Centre, will focus on real world applications and trends driving the AI Economy in Africa. The Expo and Conference also endeavour to create the largest business-focused AI Community across the region. The Expo offers a packed two day agenda where delegates can learn about real Enterprise AI case studies and the application of AI in business today. ai




Improve CX

Proactive Service Contact Reduction Future Proof Operations Channel Steering

Sandton Convention Centre South Africa 2 - 3 October 2019

Shining a light on Africa’s gaming ecosystem

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The National Development Plan 2030 (NDP 2030) aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030, however Youth unemployment in RSA (15-34 years) reached its peak in the first quarter of this year. Sadly, this figure is high even amongst those who have managed to obtain tertiary qualifications. South Africa is also experiencing a technical recession, with massive skills shortages in critical areas of the economy which support new growth, such as technology and innovation. Disruptive technologies such as advanced robotics, the ‘internet of things’, Artificial Intelligence, cloud technology, nanotechnology, big data, virtual reality and increased concerns around cyber security have catapulted us into the 4th Industrial Revolution aptly called Industry 4.0 (I.4.0). Disruptive technologies are already having a significant impact on the nature of work contributing to large-scale job losses for workers who are not equipped with the right skills, as existing occupations disappear, and new occupations emerge. The typical South African ICT practitioners are still males, who have learnt most of what they do on the job, followed by a degree, then a vendor short course. In view of what we understand about the disruptive changes that will result from the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we can deduce that South African Education and Training institutions are preparing people for jobs that probably won’t exist in the future. The dire need for skills will only worsen in the medium and long term. For the NDP 2030 to meet its’s objectives, it is imperative that we equip South African youth with the new skills required to participate in the workforce. This can only be achieved by significant and sustained investment in education, training and capacity building.

Naomi Musi Managing Director

Fourth Industrial Revolution Incubator is strategically designed to enable the creation of Small and Medium Sized business through incubation and supporting entrepreneurs. Our incubation model offers on the job training and ongoing business support. 4IRI creates and enables start-up businesses in key industries that will power the 4th industrial revolution. By fostering the capability and capacity for the future industry needs we create the potential for meaningful economic inclusion, powerful job creation and the use of the exceptional local talent that South Africa has to offer the world. We strive to create an ecosystem that develops future talented SME’s to tackle an ever-disruptive future. This will also enable them to drive economic growth in priority sectors brought about by the 4th Industrial revolution. Fourth Industrial Revolution Incubator directly meets the objectives of the National Development Plan 2030 “by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society.” The Incubator stimulates innovation, and in turn employment, entrepreneurship opportunities, job growth and generally enhances skilled individuals entering the South African market place. We therefor look forward to South Africans embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution through the 4IRI platform and making a meaningful contribution to the country.


Creators Of Africa’s Largest B2B Trade Focused AI Conference,

Launches AI TV to Chart The Continent’s 4IR Journey The AI Media Group, curators of AI Expo Africa, the largest B2B focused AI & Data Science community and trade event, has added to their media portfolio a new streaming channel, AI TV, that holds conversations with African AI thought leaders.

it. Feedback from our 2018 show indicated delegates wanted a more hands on experience to better understand the new and emerging technologies that are evolving at a rate that is hard to comprehend.  AI TV is making the AI learning experience more rewarding, tangible and stimulating for viewers who like to engage via videos.  Each interview will be 15 minutes and available online via U Tube so viewers can subscribe and be notified of new episodes”. Zimkhita Buwa, Chief Operating Officer at Britehouse and Executive Director of the Silicon Cape said, “Many young people and busy business executives often find it hard to attend events so a video based streaming channel that you can tune into is a great way to communicate the unfolding 4IR journey in Africa.  I know the team involved and it’s a grass-roots, community based movement, seeking to inform people in a pragmatic and easy to digest format.  The topics they plan to cover will be interesting and hearing from experts first-hand will keep content fresh and stimulating. The Silicon Cape team wish them well in helping inform the AI / 4IR debate over the months and years to come”. Learn more about AI Media here


AI MEDIA Co-founder, Nick Bradshaw explains, “Building upon the successful launch of AI Expo Africa in 2018 and allied to the launch of Africa’s first AI & Data Science Magazine, Synapse on the ISSUU platform, this week saw the launch of our new AI TV streaming channel that will broadcast live on U Tube. It’s all part of our wider vision to create an AI Powered Future for Africa and to inform people about what to expect as we embrace the fourth industrial revolution in our region for social and economic benefit.  AI Expo Africa 2019 will feature the new AI TV Media Hub where we will be streaming live from the show, interviewing experts on topics such as ethics, privacy, AI4Good, education, women in AI, adoption models and investment” AI Media Co-founder Roy Bannister concluded, “AI TV is going to allow us to engage with our community on a weekly basis, while Synapse is quarterly and AI Expo Africa is our annual community gathering.  AI Expo Africa will be one of the highlights of South African Innovation Month and AI TV gives our community members who cannot make it the opportunity to engage with us regionally and globally – it’s a brand new dimension and we are really excited about



Host – Dr Nick Bradshaw, CEO AI Media & Guest – John Kamara WATCH FULL CLIP HERE



3RD QUARTER 2018 ZAR25 | US$2.50 | Euro1.60

The Voice of African AI & Data Science

Africa Africa '' ss Ar Ar tt ii ff ii cial cial Intelligence Intelligence Ma Ma g ga az z ii n n ee


AI has the Potential to Transform Africa, leveraging its benefits for the Social & Economic Good of the Continent. AI Expo Africa will see a gathering of Africa’s AI Leaders to plot the way forward for the 4th Industrial Revolution

Published Quarterly


Official Publication of AI Expo Africa Endorsed by the Machine Intelligence Institute of Africa






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Synapse Issue 5 - 3rd Quarter 2019