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From the editor's desk: Human brain still better than AI (in some cases)

25 September 2019 News

Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), biometrics and others are benefitting from an enormous amount of marketing hype these days, sometimes justifiably and sometimes not. In our ‘Q&A; with iPulse Systems’, CEO Gary Chalmers explains how these technologies, together with cloud and as-a-service models, have completely changed the way the company works, allowing it to move its support teams from bakkies on the road to support centres from where they can do their jobs over the Internet.

At the iLegal conference I attended recently, one of the speakers was Mike Neville, a former policeman from England, who made the point that no matter how far AI has become, it is still nowhere near as advanced as the human brain, even in the area of facial recognition technologies which have become really advanced of late. Neville established a British team of ‘super recognisers’ who have an uncanny ability to recognise faces, even across disparate circumstances or over long time periods. Some of these super recognisers’ successes include their contribution to the resolution of the Novichok and Cologne New Year’s Eve sex attacks, as well as several murders.

At the other end of the spectrum, Herman Walsh, CEO of HP Walsh & Associates, showed off a very impressive system the company has developed to detect people lying, which he asserts is more reliable that any human’s reading of body language, facial expressions and so on. It creates a highly detailed map of subdermal veins in a person’s face, and in the images he showed, this vein map lit up like a Christmas tree when a person was lying.

On the AI front, Africa might be half a world away from all the intrusive facial analytics and ‘social engineering’ we hear coming out of China, but the region is going to be affected by the AI revolution just as much as anywhere else. According to market research by the International Data Corporation (IDC), AI spending in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) is poised to reach $290 million this year, rising to $530 million in 2022. The global technology research and consulting firm expects investment in AI across the region to grow 42,5% year on year in 2019 and continue increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22,2% over the 2019-2022 period.

IDC’s research shows that the top three industries in terms of AI investment in 2019 will be banking, manufacturing and retail. These industries will remain the top three through 2022, although spending by federal/central governments across MEA will see the strongest growth of the region’s top five verticals, increasing at a CAGR of 26,3%. The three most popular use cases – automated customer service agents, automated threat intelligence and prevention systems, and fraud analysis and investigation – will account for a combined 31,4% of AI investment across MEA in 2019.


On a final note, we’ve revamped our Hot Chips page, which used to run on the last page, and moved it into the main body of the magazine. You’ll find it on page 24 in this particular issue. In its old place is an exciting new page we’re calling ‘open [re]sources’. This particular edition features webinars, an online training video and a couple of catalogues, but at times it will also highlight resources such as product and technology videos, development community resources, and more.

Brett van den Bosch

Editor


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