The latest version of Chat GPT has just been released with even more features and capabilities than Chat GPT3. At the same time a security alert was raised by an Australia bank that had been using voice recognition as a feature for customers to access their accounts. It was found that AI could imitate the customer’s voice so perfectly that the voice recognition mechanism could not distinguish between the customer and the robot. The Romanian Prime Minister has just unveiled an AI assistant which will advise him on what are the current issues for his voters. A member of my staff circulated a SWAT analysis questionnaire to other employees and the most constructive response came from AI. AI now plays a role in our everyday lives which in many cases has overtaken human abilities. We used to believe that AI would not be able to substitute for professions such as medicine, but this is already happening. AI now gives greater precision in reading X-rays than human beings. Professionals who thought they were safe from the flood of AI are finding their field of expertise has already been swamped.
There are those who have argued that AI will make human beings redundant while others have pointed to past industrial revolutions which led to the creation of more skills with the need for more people to fill these positions. However, in this AI revolution there is already an existing shortage of labour in many developed countries that have an aging population with few young people to fill the available positions. This combination of the rise in the abilities of AI, plus a shortage of human beings to do the work, will result in the increasing domination of AI in developed countries. This has been compounded by a rise in right wing nationalism, resulting in immigrants being refused entry into western countries. Britain has gone as far as proposing legislation to send illegal immigrants to Rwanda.
Unlike developed countries, Africa has a very young population and a high unemployment rate, with the result that many of these young people would like to get to countries in the northern hemisphere where there are opportunities for work. But while such countries have an acute shortage of labour, they are still doing everything they can to keep immigrants out. One reason cited for not wanting to access labour from developing countries is the lack of education and skills. Uganda exports hundreds of thousands of domestic workers to Saudi Arabia because such work requires little in the way of education. But Norway and Britain have an acute shortage of nurses, yet Africa is not able to export nurses to these countries – because they do not accept our standards in nurse training. It would make sense for nations to collaborate in training of nurses to ensure they come to an acceptable standard. One could have joint collaborations between universities in Africa and Europe and sponsorship programs in which students had access to bursaries that are paid back when they are in employment. Such practices would not constitute a brain drain because they would be adding to the pool of trained young people who would otherwise be languishing because they don’t have the resources to pay for such training. We should be exporting thousands of skilled workers to Europe instead of unskilled domestic servants to the middle east.
As things stand, the world is divided into an impoverished south where there are many young people who don’t have jobs, and an aging north, where human beings will end up being served by artificially intelligent machines. This dichotomy is fed by nationalistic protectionism on the one hand, and poor policies and poor standards of education on the other hand. It is the basic lack of understanding of where the world is going on the part of policy makers in Africa, and Uganda in particular, which has resulted in us having a wonderful population of young people – who have little education, few skills, and no hope for the future. Most have no prospects that run higher than becoming a boda boda rider or (if they are a young girl in the village) begetting more children.
Uganda has encouraged population growth, but then left these young people to their fate, doing little to equip them for the world as it is today. Yet we persist with our outmoded education system which long ago ceased to be relevant to the world as it is.
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