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#AfricaFlows Opening Plenary – The Influence of AI on Media and Governance in Africa
October 17 @ 9:00 am - 10:30 am
Session Format: Panel Discussion
- Sbu Ngalwa, Chairperson: South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF)
- Dr. Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Nigeria
- Dr. Towela Nyere-Jere, AUDA-NEPAD
Most recently, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a contentious topic, with some actors supporting and defending its role, while other actors remain sceptical, cautious and threatened. The concept of AI is not new – but the way AI is rapidly advancing and evolving indicates that the very nature of our work and home lives (including how democracies and governance processes function) will be re-orientated, some even believe revolutionized. It is an open question how this shift will affect Africa as a continent that faces many challenges including rapid urbanisation, high unemployment levels, compromised education standards, increasing poverty and inequality, and generally lower economic growth prospects. These challenges are compounded by a lack of efficient governance, transparency and accountability structures from which governments, especially at the local level, can improve citizens’ quality of life and secure collective human rights and democratic freedoms.
So, how do we as civic tech and media innovators and practitioners seize this moment? We are living through the most significant technological revolution of the 21st century. How can we optimize our current work while finding ways to leverage AI as a tool to enhance our impact? What are our current approaches and how can we use our collective intelligence and expressions to integrate AI into our work approaches and strategies for the public good?
The Opening Plenary of CTIF23: #AfricaFlows will focus on the influence of AI on society, media, and governance in Africa. The session will explore specific questions about the various roles that AI is already playing in the civic tech and media ecosystems and discuss how governance in African countries can be improved through innovation, adaptation, preparedness, resilience and action. The discussions will be proactive and set the tone for the conference programme to follow. This session will also critically reflect on the dangers, risks and blind spots related to AI and its potential impact on African governance and various accountability mechanisms. We hope that bringing a balanced and nuanced approach to the topic will prompt reflective, honest and open discussions.