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South Africa Launches AI Industry Association to Drive Responsible Adoption

The South African Artificial Intelligence Association (SAAIA) has launched, aiming to promote the advancement of responsible artificial intelligence in South Africa by uniting practitioners across commercial, government, academic, startups and NGO sectors.

The association seeks to encourage stakeholders to adopt responsible AI for the benefit of the citizens of South Africa, with a focus on economic growth, trade, investment, equality as well as inclusivity.

By analysing the global and local landscape, identifying challenges and opportunities related to AI and smart technologies in South Africa, SAAIA has shaped its vision. It is rooted in evidence, with a strong focus on responsible and human-centric AI principles.

SAAIA aims to actively engage individuals and organisations, bridging the gap between novices and experts, and ensuring that everyone can seize the opportunities presented by AI.

The association has set 10 key objectives, including serving as the voice of the industry, providing analysis and research to inform decision-making, and connecting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to funding for creating new companies and jobs.

Dr. Nick Bradshaw, the founder of SAAIA, addressed the impact of AI and related automation technologies on traditional industries globally, stressing the need for responsible AI adoption in South Africa.

“Our research has shown that AI and related automation technologies are currently impacting 120+ traditional industries globally and creating new opportunities and challenges in timescale never seen before. The speed of this disruption is faster than any other industrial revolution that has gone before it.

“SAAIA seeks to encourage stakeholders in the adoption of responsible AI for the commercial and societal benefit of the citizens of South Africa with a primary focus on regulation, economic growth, trade, investment, fairness, equality and inclusivity.”

Founding members

The founding advisory board members of SAAIA represent organisations, including Michalsons, GIZ, ExploreAI, Cirrus AI, TinyML Foundation, Augmented Startups, Data Economy Policy Hub (DepHUB), and more.

Individual membership to SAAIA is free, granting members access to resources, insights and news throughout the year. Members will also enjoy discounts to join the annual event, AI Expo Africa, Africa’s largest enterprise AI trade show and conference, scheduled for 2 to 3 November at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

SAAIA will kick off its formal launch event and roadshow series on 19 July in Pretoria, aiming to engage stakeholders, showcase AI innovation and research, as well as foster discussions on inclusion, ethics, regulation, and standards.

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