More South Africans than ever interested in AI



JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – SEARCH interest in artificial intelligence (AI) has reached an all-time high this year in South Africa.

This is according to new search trends released by Google, which indicate that people have searched for AI more than ever in 2023 so far, with interest rising 230 percent since last year, and 700 percent over the last five years.

Searches for “What is AI technology?” (+1 700 percent), “How to invest in AI?” (+950 percent), “Who created AI?” (+650 percent) and “How does artificial intelligence work?” (+500 percent) are all trending this year.

As well as turning to Google Search to better understand AI, people in South Africa have begun to look to use AI to increase their productivity, capture their imagination and build their careers.

Search interest in AI in relation to CV or resumes increased by 1 050 percent. Searches for “AI song generator” (+5 850 percent), “AI logo generator” (+5 560 percent), “AI photo editor” (+4 500 percent), “AI video editor” (+3 100 percent) and “AI story writer” (+1 400 percent) all also increased.

“It’s heartening to observe the surge of interest in AI among South Africans,” said Alistair Mokoena, Country Director, Google South Africa.

“As with many across the African continent and the world at large, South Africans are keenly exploring and reaping the benefits of conscientiously developed AI tools.”

Mokoena said the technological landscape was evolving at an unprecedented rate, bringing forth a myriad of innovations.

Google, which released its conversational AI service, Bard, in South Africa in March, sees AI as having huge potential to help people, businesses and communities.

“As we navigate this transformative era, our focus in South Africa remains clear: to collaborate closely, act with utmost responsibility, and ensure that we harness the vast potential of AI to its fullest, always prioritising its responsible application.”

Google is meanwhile using AI to address security challenges and misinformation.

Gmail automatically blocks 99,9 percent of malware, phishing and spam and protects more than 1,5 billion inboxes using AI.

Through the Google News Initiative, engineers are working directly with fact-checkers and publishers to use AI-enabled tools to find and tackle misinformation.

Jigsaw, a team within Google that develops technology to counter online harms, has partnered with local experts and academics to develop approaches to directly counter disinformation and help people more easily identify and refute it.

– CAJ News

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