How Will AI Help Developed Third World Countries?


The discussion of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become so prevalent that every sector is now informed of its existence. Over the years, technology has been a major driving force in growing and developing human work states and engagements. With various examples of newly developed AI, the adoption of this digital revolution has become so paramount to everyone. However, an important question I have amid all these is, “how will AI help developing Third World countries?”

It is important to first examine what third-world countries are before delving into the ways in which AI can help them better. In light of this, let us consider what third-world countries are; hence, what are third-world countries?

The term third-world countries can be traced to the era of the Cold War between the East and West Bloc between 1947 and 1991. This term was originally used to refer to countries that were not aligned with either the Capitalist World or the Communist World.

However, defining third-world countries can be challenging, as the term has evolved over time and can have different meanings depending on the context. According to Amartya Sen, a Nobel Prize-winning economist, “The Third World refers to countries that have relatively low levels of living standards, which makes them poor and backward, and that have been unable to close the gap with the industrialized world.”

According to the Corporate Finance Institue, third-world countries are countries that are characterized by;’

  • High rates of poverty
  • Economic and/or political instability
  • High mortality rates

Hence, by considering these three pointers, third-world countries can, however, be regarded as either underdeveloped or developing countries, which then further resonates with the question of how an advanced technological revolution can also function in a developing country.

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In an article by the International Monetary Fund in 2020, the authors noted; new technology risks widening the gap between rich and poor countries by shifting more investment to advanced economies where automation is already established. This could, in turn, have negative consequences for jobs in developing countries by threatening to replace rather than complement their growing labor force, which has traditionally provided an advantage to less developed economies. To prevent this growing divergence, policymakers in developing economies will need to take actions to raise productivity and improve skills among workers.’

However, despite this economic argument of development regarding third-world countries, according to IMF, there are still some ways in which AI can help develop third-world countries, and these sectors will be properly considered in the subsequent paragraphs.

How AI Will Contribute to the Growth of Developing Countries

The impact of Artificial Intelligence can be felt in various sectors in Third World countries, and some of these are:

Healthcare Sector

One area where AI can have a significant impact on Third World countries is in healthcare. AI-powered diagnostic tools and predictive models can help doctors and healthcare workers diagnose and treat diseases more accurately and efficiently.

For example, AI algorithms can be used to identify early warning signs of diseases like cancer and diabetes, allowing for earlier interventions and potentially better health outcomes. In addition, AI-powered telemedicine platforms can help connect patients in remote or underserved areas with healthcare professionals, improving access to healthcare for those who need it most.

Education Sector

Another area where AI can help develop Third World countries is education. Education is a very big stage for AI impact in the Third World countries, especially with the rise in education percentage. Hence, options like AI-powered tutoring and learning platforms can provide personalized learning experiences for students, helping to bridge the education gap in areas with limited resources or poorly functioning educational systems.

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Additionally, AI can help identify students who are at risk of falling behind or dropping out, allowing teachers and administrators to intervene and provide additional support as needed. For instance, in South Africa, Foondamate, an AI study buddy, is helping students learn faster.

Agricultural Sector

In agriculture, AI can help farmers increase crop yields and improve food security. AI-powered predictive models can provide insights into weather patterns, soil quality, and pest infestations, allowing farmers to make more informed decisions about when to plant and harvest crops. AI-powered drones can also be used to monitor crop growth and identify areas that require additional water or fertilizer, potentially increasing yields and reducing waste.

Financial Sector

In addition, AI can help Third World countries overcome barriers to financial inclusion. AI-powered credit scoring models can help lenders assess creditworthiness and provide loans to individuals and small businesses that might otherwise be excluded from the traditional financial system. AI-powered chatbots and customer service platforms can also help improve access to financial services for those who are unbanked or underbanked.

In Nigeria, various FinTech companies have risen to prominence, such as SanwoFlutterwaveOpayCowrywise, and others, all in response to the lapses created in the traditional banking systems.

In 2021, the University World News, Africa Education published that ‘Artificial intelligence (AI) could expand Africa’s economy by a staggering US$1.5 trillion – about 50% of its current gross domestic product – if it could only capture 10% of the fast-growing AI market, set to reach US$15.7 trillion by 2030, a new report has pointed out.’ With these progressive percentages, AI can help grow Africa, being the continent with the highest developing countries. Likewise, Quartz, in their 2022 report, shows an improving number of AI-centralised companies in Africa.

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In conclusion, AI presents a tremendous opportunity for developing countries to leapfrog their economies and improve the well-being of their populations. From healthcare and education to agriculture and infrastructure, AI has the potential to revolutionize the way developing countries approach their most pressing challenges.

However, realizing the full potential of AI in these contexts will require a concerted effort from governments, private sector actors, and civil society to ensure that the benefits of AI are shared widely and equitably. By investing in AI research and development, building digital infrastructure, and prioritizing ethical and inclusive approaches to AI deployment, developing countries can position themselves to harness the transformative power of AI and build a more prosperous and equitable future for all.

By: Olúwábùkúnmi Awóṣùsì
Originally published at Hackernoon

Source: Cyberpogo

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