There’s gold in the data — but who’s mining it?

ONLY a handful of South Africans are using artificial intelligence to help solve business and social problems, and to make money. The past year’s devastating drought might have been mitigated if information about previous droughts had been used to predict it and to prepare, says Bhekisipho Twala, director of the Institute for Intelligent Systems at the University of Johannesburg. Data scientists could also help Eskom predict the where and when of electricity use, easing its task of keeping the lights on when power supply is constrained. “The whole point of data mining or machine learning is finding hidden information that can make business (or other) decisions easier,” says Obakeng Moepya, one of the three founders of Johannesburg-based Isazi Consulting, which uses advanced mathematics and statistics to solve difficult problems. Machine…


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