Govt should establish Committee of the Future to research how to best use AI as Speaker of Parliament urges

Leonard Sengere Avatar
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Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. So, when you hear someone talk about something incessantly, just know it’s constantly on their mind. Unless they know you would assume that and say it to trick you.

Well, you will have to decide what you think about the Zimbabwean government’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) talk. Or more accurately, if you think the Speaker of Parliament’s views on AI are shared by his comrades.

The government’s budget for 2024 is nearly upon us and as is the norm, a pre-budget meeting was held. Speaker of Parliament Mudenda gave the customary keynote address and he mentioned AI more times than we anticipated.

I think we have cause to celebrate that the meeting was not held in Victoria Falls but at the new Parliament building. That should be much cheaper than shelling out travel allowances.

Anyway, Mudenda first discussed how the budget should seek to promote industrialisation and modernisation, create jobs, and improve access to ‘qualitative education 5.0.’ He says this qualitative education should be built on research powered by AI, innovation, science, technology, and our cultural heritage.

You cannot argue with that. For all its shortcomings, we should be utilising AI in our research process.

Mudenda then went on to tout AI as a major force for good. Here is a paraphrased summary of what he said.

We are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI is likely to have a big impact on all aspects of economic development. Zimbabwe needs to keep up with the rest of the world in using AI, or it will fall behind.

AI makes e-government and e-commerce more efficient and effective. Parliament should use AI to improve its oversight, legislation, and representation roles.

Parliament should set up a Committee of the Future to guide the government and judiciary on how to use AI positively. Finland, Uruguay, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates have already set up similar committees, and the United Arab Emirates has even set up a university dedicated to AI.

I like his thinking here. There is a lot about AI we all don’t understand. So, while many will agree that it’s likely to have a major impact on the world, they are still not sure how they could take advantage of it themselves.

So, the idea to set up a Committee of the Future to look into how the government would use AI is an excellent one. I know the new committee will attract sitting allowances and other costs but I’m not bothered too much about it.

So, here’s hoping Parliament takes this advice to heart and does the right thing.

The speech (in simple English)

Here is the full speech, summarised and paraphrased into simple English if you are so inclined.

Zimbabwe’s facing some tough challenges right now, like high inflation, unemployment, and poverty. But the 2024 Budget can help us overcome these challenges and grow our economy.

Here are a few key areas the Budget should focus on:

  • Industrialization and modernization: We need to create jobs and reduce poverty by industrializing and modernizing our economy. The Budget should invest in infrastructure, education, and training, and create an environment where businesses can thrive.
  • Education: Education is essential for a growing economy. The Budget should invest in education at all levels and make it more affordable and accessible for everyone.
  • Research and innovation: Research and innovation are key to driving economic growth. The Budget should invest in research and development, and create an environment where innovation can flourish.
  • Cultural heritage: Zimbabwe’s cultural heritage is a valuable asset that can help us grow our economy. The Budget should invest in preserving and promoting our cultural heritage.

Overall, the 2024 Budget should be a “people’s budget” that addresses the needs of all Zimbabweans. The government should consult with the people to get their input on the Budget, and make sure it meets their needs.

Let’s make the Budget work for us!

Also read:

AI use in healthcare: opportunity or threat?

Zimbabwe is not ready to take full advantage of what AI has to offer

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10 comments

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  1. Farai Ted Mandoreba

    I think the general idea is good but the guys leading the sector i think they are reluctant to consider it… Me myself as s developer i have used AI for 3months now and the results and the quality of my work has emproved so much…. Right now i am working on an idea to be pitched to my boss(taking advantage of AI) in what we do
    So i think honourable vane idea iri right

    1. D.K.

      Will your boss understand it? Think of what happened to Masiyiwa at TelOne when he was not understood on the emerging mobile phone technology at the time, and he ended up with Econet!

      1. Farai Ted Mandoreba

        I like the last sentence of your reply… hopefully history will repeat here…i will try to make him get the idea

  2. Farai Ted Mandoreba

    Back again..the other issue that might make this idea not to be considered is The general phobia of technology… And innovation by the lawmakers of Zimbabwe…let alone now Ai…look at how the fear of internet was back by the then lawmakers…now a new innovation like Ai… I think there must be a lot of change of mindset, thought process and a lot of education on technology, innovation and more so Ai and its benefits…the 4th IR is upon us and its inevitable… One day lost in hanersing it is 10yrs lost…so they must act… Top Down Approach

  3. Hehehe

    Instead of focusing on AI, we should invest in building our own lithography machines

    1. Farai Ted Mandoreba

      Not bad thats the idea… We need that… Thats what we need… Be doing….

    2. Dream big or go home I guess

      To export the machines or to fabricate our own chips? If its to export machines, we’ll need to license some crazy valuable patents for the lithography tech. Well, we could also make the investment environment here so good TSMC, Samsung and gang will be tripping over each other to setup shop here 不. Or we could train up enough experts to do it ‘organically’ by creating our own unique patent worthy tech! Should only take a couple of generations 不不. We could also go full China and say F the patents不不不!

      But it would seriously be awesome if Zim could come up with some useful IP. Thats what all these universities should be doing! We are small enough that a cut of licensing and royalties would make a significant dent in our budget.

  4. GG

    It’s all froth and no beer.

  5. Anonymous

    Nostalgic faces

  6. The AI Dealer

    Well AI is the now and the future , if anything honorable should be heard!

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