Artificial Intelligence: Replacing humans or complementing them?

Is Artificial Intelligence pushing humans away from their jobs or is it making their work easier while turning them lazy? PHOTO/McKinsey.
Is Artificial Intelligence pushing humans away from their jobs or is it making their work easier while turning them lazy? PHOTO/McKinsey.

The modern world majorly revolves around technology and technological advancements, and with the globe being a small digital village, there is no doubt that technology, albeit with its own shortcomings, has made life much easier.

In a world that is becoming fast-paced and digitized, technology has become key to every sector of human engagement.

There is no doubt that technological advancements have made the world interconnected, smart and efficient.

Using AI technology

Over the recent past, the world has been treated to a rather not new technological advancement in the name of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

As a branch of computer science, AI focuses on developing intelligent machines that can think and/or act like humans.

And even though AI has been around for decades, it started gaining popularity only recently.

Industries, including but not limited to the media, research, healthcare and even finance, are using AI to carry out some of their duties.

Health experts are banking on it to diagnose diseases, monitor patient recovery progress and dispense treatment.

Artificial Intelligence can be used to monitor patient progress, and evaluate the working condition of body organs, among other uses in medicine. PHOTO/simonkr, Via Getty Images.

In finance, investing in AI to detect fraud and improve investment management is taking root.

AI is also being used in the transportation industry to automate vehicles and enhance safety. It can also be applied in detecting obstacles, recognizing traffic signals, and vehicle speed monitoring and control.

Artificial Intelligence helps in automating some of office tasks and enhances efficiency, productivity and service delivery.

For some companies, AI is becoming a cost-reduction measure.

Types of AI

Some common types of AI include Machine Learning, natural language processing, computer vision, and robotics.

Machine Learning is mostly used for data analysis, especially detecting fraud and identifying patterns.

On the other hand, natural language processing helps understand and process natural language, like spoken or written words.

Computer vision is applied in analysing images, commonly employed in detecting objects and faces.

Robotics is used to automate tasks and can be used in manufacturing and other industries.

AI Challenges

Like other forms of technology, Artificial Intelligence has its own fair share of challenges.

Charles Mbuthia, a software engineer based in Nairobi, says that the cost of AI is one big challenge that can overshadow its usefulness.

“AI algorithms development is a costly affair that results in high cost of the end product,” says Mbuthia.

The silver lining and the interdependence between AI, ML and DL. PHOTO/Simplilearn.

He also notes that the complexity of AI data also makes it difficult for the technology to be effectively applied in certain industries, such as healthcare, especially where there are no tech experts.

Experts have also raised questions on the issue of ethical considerations in using AI.

Enock Bett, a data scientist, notes that the AI technology has the potential of exhibiting biasness in decision making.

“The technology has the potential to collect and use personal data without the user’s knowledge or consent,” said Bett.

“There is also the risk of AI being used for malicious purposes, such as  manipulation of  public opinion and spreading misinformation,” he adds.


A child of artificial intelligence giant OpenAI, ChatGPT is approximately a two-month-old yet highly-improved technology designed to help users to find answers to queries by asking questions which are then answered conversationally.  

GPT-3, the first ChatGPT version, generates content that sounds humanly written, while the second, DALL-E, can create generative art based on text prompts you type in.

AI expert writer Stephen Shankland says that ChatGPT appears knowledgeable in areas where there are good training data for it to learn from.

“It’s not omniscient or smart enough to replace all humans yet, but it can be creative, and its answers can sound downright authoritative,” Shankland says.

He adds, “GPT-3, and the GPT 3.5 update on which ChatGPT is based, are examples of AI technology called large language models…; they are trained to create text based on what they have seen, and they can be trained automatically, typically with huge quantities of computer power over a period of weeks.”

Example of a prompt by a user and the response given by the ChatGPT. PHOTO/Tony Brindisi via LinkedIn.

However, OpenAI Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman says that ChatGPT may sometimes generate incorrect or misleading information.

Though the technology is currently free, monetization plans are taking shape.

“We will have to monetize it at some point; the computer costs are eye-watering,” he revealed.

The Human factor

Bett notes that, as of now, AI applications are unsuitable for tasks that require human intelligence and creativity.

“AI applications lack very critical components of human creativity, emotional intelligence, and common sense, which are key in problem solving,” says Bett.

On the possibility of widespread job losses, Mbuthia terms it a misconception.

“Technology is developed by humans for humans and cannot operate in isolation, as much as there will be job cuts, it will not be widespread as people have predicted,” he argued.

The World Economic Forum report estimates that nearly 85 million jobs may be disrupted globally by 2025 due to the shift in the division of labor between humans and machines.

WEF, however, says it’s very unlikely that the shift will lead to widespread job losses. It says that the technology shift will likely primarily affect entry-level positions involving routine tasks.

In an expert-commissioned 2016 study, AI experts predicted that between 2040 and 2050, there is a greater than 50% probability that AI systems will achieve human-like abilities.

Stuart Russell, the co-author of a widely used AI textbook, says that the super-intelligent will rise within the lifetime of the current generation.

OpenAI Company CEO, Sam Altman, projects that in the next few decades, it is evident that a wide range of tasks performed by humans will be accomplished by computer programs.

“They will be able to perform a wide range of tasks, including making ground-breaking scientific discoveries that will broaden our understanding of the world,” he explains.

Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence, with proper legislation, are set to benefit Kenya significantly. PHOTO/Courtesy.

At the beginning of 2018, the Kenyan government, through the Ministry of Information, Communications and Telecommunication (ICT), established a task force to draft and develop a strategy to guide the adoption of Blockchain and AI in Kenya.

The task force comprised AI and blockchain experts, researchers, startups, regulatory bodies, local ICT experts, lawyers, and corporate representatives.

Lawyer Judy Kabubu argues that the Government needs to formulate policies and legislation that will create a balance between regulation and innovation of AI technologies.

“Currently, there is no legislation with regards to AI,” she says, adding that “…in formulating legislation to govern AI, the Government would need to balance between protecting its citizens and promoting private sector innovation.”

Kabubu explains that the main concerns with regard to AI will be data privacy and the threat of weaponization of personal data and information.

She says AI will greatly benefit Kenya by cutting the cost of running government services and enhancing service delivery in public administration among many things.

“With legislation in place and proper utilization of AI, Kenya stands to benefit from these and many more,” said Kabubu.

According to the Institute of Economic Affairs, Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, and Kenya are leading Africa in the readiness of Artificial Intelligence uptake.

YOU CAN ALSO READ: How digital technology is impacting your child’s life

Globally, Kenya is ranked 78th, with Rwanda and Tanzania being other East African nations ranked after Kenya in AI uptake preparedness.

The top three leading countries in the world on the adoption of AI are the United States of America (USA), Singapore, and the United Kingdom (UK).

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Jackson Okata is a freelance journalist with experience in both broadcast, print and online journalism. His areas of interest are Climate Change, Environment, Agribusiness, Technology, and Gender Empowerment. His contact:



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