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[New Video & Audio Podcast] A Live Citizen TV Discussion Panel On AI In Kenya: Opportunities, Challenges, & The Road Ahead.

On the evening of the 14th of March 2024, the day before World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD), Citizen TV hosted an engaging panel discussion on ethical and inclusive Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Kenya. This year’s global theme for WRCD was “Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers,” making the conversation both timely and critical. The Communications Authority of Kenya, in its commitment to marking World Consumer Rights Day, organized this live discussion as a live broadcast and invited a diverse group of panelists who are at the forefront of technology, regulation, and consumer advocacy.

The following made up the panel for the discussion:

Immaculate Kassait, MBS, Data Commissioner at the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner, brought a regulatory and data protection viewpoint, crucial for understanding the legal framework that surrounds AI.

Peter Ndegwa, C.B.S, CEO of Safaricom PLC, offered insights from the frontline of integrating AI in telecommunications and how it shapes consumer experiences.

Stanley Kamanguya, PMP®, OGW, CEO of Kenya’s ICT Authority, provided a governmental perspective on how AI is being harnessed and regulated within public sector projects and initiatives.

Agnes Gathaiya, Country Director for Google in East Africa, represented the international technology community, giving us a glimpse into how global technology platforms are navigating the AI landscape.

David Mugonyi, Commissioner General and CEO of the Communications Authority of Kenya, shared the regulatory body’s stance on AI’s proliferation within Kenya’s communication sectors.

Alice Kemunto, Executive Director at the Consumer Grassroots Association, Kenya, provided a critical consumer advocacy perspective, emphasizing the impact of AI on everyday Kenyans.

Moses Kemibaro, that’s me, Founder & CEO at Dotsavvy, I aimed to bridge the gap between digital innovation and consumer rights, focusing on how organizations and individuals can leverage AI responsibly.

The discussion was moderated by Sam Gituku, a journalist from Royal Media Services.

The panel represented a multifaceted approach required to navigate the complexities of AI in the context of Kenya.

What We Discussed.

From the onset, our discussion covered the expansive landscape of AI, from regulatory frameworks to the tangible impacts on the lives of consumers, both in Kenya and globally. We grappled with questions of regulatory oversight, exploring whose mandate it is to navigate this uncharted territory. The consensus captured a collaborative approach, involving government bodies, the private sector, and civil society, to ensure AI’s ethical grounding in Kenya and beyond.

We delved into specific examples where AI has begun to transform consumer experiences for the better, from healthcare diagnostics to personalized education platforms, showcasing AI’s potential to enhance daily life. Yet, amidst the enthusiasm, we collectively acknowledged the dual edge of AI: its potential for great good and significant harm. This duality brought us to consider the optimism surrounding AI, weighing it against the criticisms and fears often associated with its rapid advancement.

Discussing the need for AI uptake at scale in Kenya and beyond, we stressed the critical role of infrastructure, digital literacy, and policy frameworks tailored to our unique context. Ensuring fair and responsible AI expansion became a central theme, prompting a rich exchange on ethical considerations and how much trust we can afford to place in AI with critical and highly impactful decisions.

A key moment in our conversation touched on the digital divide, with AI acting as both a bridge and a barrier between the developed and developing aspects of Kenya and the rest of the world, the rich and the poor. As we expounded on AI’s impact on the job market, it was clear that the shift towards automation and AI-driven technologies presents both challenges and opportunities for workforce development in Kenya and far beyond our borders.

Closing Thoughts.

As our discussion came to an end, the collective sentiment was one of cautious optimism. AI, in its myriad forms, offers unparalleled opportunities for advancement for Kenya and every country globally. However, this journey requires constant monitoring, ethical commitment, and inclusive dialogue to ensure that we move toward an inevitable future where no one is left behind.

Ultimately, our conversation on AI in Kenya and its implications just scratched the surface of a much larger global dialogue. The insights from my fellow panelists and the contributions from the general public can serve as a guide in our efforts to realize AI’s potential responsibly and equitably in Kenya and elsewhere.

Watch The Video Here:

Listen To The Audio Podcast Here:

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