Data Science Africa in collaboration with The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA), ETH Zurich, EPFL, the European Laboratory for Learning and Intelligent Systems (ELLIS), the Swiss National Computing Centre (CSCS), and the LUMI consortium launched the International Computation and AI Network (ICAIN) at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2024 in Davos. Its mission is to develop AI technologies that benefit society as a whole, as well as being accessible to all and sustainable, thereby helping to reduce global inequality.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most critical technologies of our time. It is set to radically transform our society, economy and politics, and also has the potential to combat global challenges such as climate change, pandemics and income inequality. Many countries are therefore trying to expand their AI capabilities and invest in the necessary infrastructure. But many potential players, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, have no access to the relevant technologies due to the high cost and shortage of key components.
The founders of the International Computation and AI Network want to open up access to supercomputing, data and software infrastructures, as well as AI know-how, to a wider community. The aim is to facilitate international research projects that benefit society as a whole and promote the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).
DSA will lead one of the pilot use cases of the network aimed at using artificial intelligence to make agriculture more resilient to the negative effects of climate change. This is an area DSA members have shown great expertise. “For us, the cooperation with ICAIN is interesting because it opens up new opportunities for our members in the implementation of AI projects within the African context. We also want to share the unique expertise of DSA members for the benefit of others within the network,” says Professor Ciira Maina, Board Chair of Data Science Africa.