AI + Africa = Global Innovation

Dr. Aisha Walcott-Bryant / IBM Research Africa, Nairobi

Abstract: Artificial Intelligence (AI) has for some time stoked the creative fires of computer scientists and researchers world-wide -- even before the so-called AI winter. After emerging from the winter, with much improved compute, vast amounts of data, and new techniques, AI has ignited our collective imaginations. We have been captivated by its promise while wary of its possible misuse in applications. AI has certainly demonstrated its enormous potential especially in fields such as healthcare. There, it has been used to support radiologists and to further precision medicine; conversely it has been used to generate photorealistic videos which distort our concept of what is real. Hence, we must thoughtfully harness AI to address the myriad of scientific and societal challenges; and open pathways to opportunities in governance, policy, and management. In this talk, I will share innovative solutions which leverage AI for global health with a focus on Africa. I will present a vision for the collaborations in hopes to inspire our community to join on this journey to transform Africa and impact the world.

Bio: Dr. Aisha Walcott-Bryant is a research scientist and manager of the AI Science and Engineering team at IBM Research, Africa. She is passionate about healthcare, interactive systems, and on addressing Africa's diverse challenges.In addition, Dr. Walcott-Bryant leads a team of researchers and engineers who are working on transformational innovations in global health and development while advancing the state of the art in AI, Blockchain, and other technologies.She and her team are engaged in projects in Maternal Newborn Child Health (MNCH), Family Planning (FP), disease intervention planning, and water access and management. Her team's recent healthcare work on “Enabling Care Continuity Using a Digital Health Wallet” was awarded Honorable Mention at the International Conference on Health Informatics, ICHI2019.Prior to her career at IBM Research Africa, Dr. Walcott-Bryant worked in Spain. There, she took on projects in the area of Smarter Cities at Barcelona Digital and Telefonica with a focus on physical systems for social media engagement, and multi-modal trip planning and recommending. Dr. Walcott-Bryant earned her PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT where she conducted research on mobile robot navigation in dynamic environments at their Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL).

Question and Answer Session