Why Kenyans must embrace technology

Artificial Intelligence

AI is unfolding as a major force in the fast-evolving future of technology. 

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Kenya is now well into its 60th year of independence, and in human terms, 60 is an age closely associated with maturity.

Our founding fathers would be proud that the country that they ushered into independence in 1963 now boasts a robust population of almost 53 million, compared to the six million at independence.

We boast of an ever-growing middle class, an education system that is the envy of many and a democracy that is one of the most fiercely competitive. The media landscape is creative and prolific, especially now that we are in the era of social media and online content creation.

And yet while so much has been achieved, there is much work that is still left to be done. Our founding President, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, summed up Kenya’s three main problems at that time poverty, ignorance and disease. During that era, those issues were the biggest challenges of this young nation. It is unfortunate that these very issues are still pertinent.

To understand why these national problems have persisted, it is imperative to see Kenya’s internal issues through the lens of the global situation.

The world in 2023 is light years away from what it was 60 years ago when there were no smartphones and no internet. The fact that we are spoilt for choice of so many social media platforms is indicative of a young, globally-inclined generation that is more curious and more inquisitive than any other.

This generation understands that the current problems of their world today are not in the form of polio or smallpox but rather, are more intertwined with how to observe changing trends and, consequently, how quickly to adapt to these shifting developments.

The advent of the internet at the close of the last century, just as artificial intelligence is in our time, was as unnerving just as it was exciting. Those who saw the internet’s potential in its early stages are now a happy lot, very successful, and even in some instances, very wealthy. 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) could offer Kenya the opportunity to be a continental, if not a global leader, that will be at the forefront of success when the new order of life is set into full swing.

AI has the potential to permeate and effectively revolutionise all aspects of human life, including health, transportation, industrial management, intelligence gathering, security and military technology. Instead of fighting this new reality, our government should commit to making an all-out effort to transform Kenya into the AI capital of East Africa.

This could be our golden opportunity to replicate the 20th Century successes of Singapore and South Korea. Electric vehicles(EVs) and 5G internet are already here. We played second fiddle, and so we didn’t reap the full benefits. But AI is still in its nascent stages. Let us get into the arena early enough.

Raymongd Maina Mugure, Nairobi