• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Economies of AI and data: The need for governance

artificial intelligence (AI)

Economies around the world have transcended just the nitty-gritty of the economics of fiscal and monetary policies. The digital economy is now fully integrated into global and national economies, and having become an integral part of economies across the globe, artificial intelligence and data have become driving forces for economic growth and development. As the use and adoption of these duos grow, the need for governance and regulation compliance becomes more important to actualize economic growth and national security.

The economies of data and artificial intelligence are very vast and could be complex as they encompass diverse sectors, use cases, and applications. The impacts of AI and intelligent use of data across diverse sectors are currently changing how decisions are made through intelligent and automated decision-making processes. Ultimately, for governmental organisations and the public sector, AI provides an opportunity for great turnaround time in public services and, in turn, drives economic growth through huge contributions to the digital economy.

Read also: Artificial Intelligence – Will it be a blessing or a curse?

The digital economy in the US has contributed significantly to the national economy over the past years. According to the Journal of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the total digital economy real value added (RVA) saw an average of 7.1 percent increase, while the total U.S. real GDP stood at an average increase of 1.9 percent between 2017 and 2022. This goes to show the great contributions of the digital economy to the overall gross domestic product of the American economy, which indicates how technology is greatly contributing to national economies across the globe.

According to the World Economic Forum, the digital economy in Southeast Asia is set to hit $600 billion by 2030 in gross merchandise value, and one of the contributing factors to achieving this is bridging the demand and supply gap in digital products.

All of these are to showcase the contribution of the digital economy, which consists of AI and data, to the overall GDP of an area of which I have cited just two examples: the US and Southeast Asia.

At the core of the AI economy is data. Obviously, data is the lifeblood of the AI algorithms, which makes machine learning an asset to the AI ecosystem. Summarily, the accuracy of an AI or algorithmic system depends greatly on the availability of data, and the more data there is, the more accurate and robust the output of the system.

Despite AI’s contribution to national and global economies, its proliferation and the availability of data everywhere raise some concerns about the ethical and responsible use of AI.

AI governance has to do with setting guidelines, standards, and regulations to checkmate the use and deployment of artificial intelligence systems. Although AI technologies bring about national security and potential economic growth, they also pose a huge threat with risks that should not be overlooked, hence the need for governance, regulation, and enforcement of compliance.

To mitigate these risks and be proactive towards addressing the governance issue, developed nations are enacting AI governance frameworks beyond just strategies so that national security, human rights, privacy, etc. are not bridged in the use and deployment of AI. Critically, we should not adopt technological advancement to the extent that our human values and fundamental rights are at risk. This calls for prioritising responsible use, transparency, accountability, and fairness in the deployment and use of artificial intelligence.

It is expected that by 2030, individuals, businesses, and governments in Africa would have been digitally enabled, according to the Digital Economy for Africa initiative of the World Bank and the digital transformation strategy for Africa of the AU, but how close is the continent is the continent to achieving this? A few African nations have made attempts at developing national AI strategies, but where is the place of governance to boost economic development and guarantee national security?

In conclusion, the economies of AI and data provide us with huge opportunities for economic growth. However, like the US, EU, and more recently Singapore, Africa and the rest of the world need to develop robust governance frameworks in this area.

Victor Haruna-Francis is a UK-based information technology project leader and an artificial intelligence governance advocate. He has more than 15 years of cognate experience delivering complex projects across different enterprises cutting across different continents.