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Kenya IT experts caution government on AI and Robotics bill

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Kenyan IT experts are advising caution as the country progresses with the Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Society Bill, 2023. There are concerns regarding insufficient input from stakeholders, especially in addressing the robotics sectors, and the possibility of facing legal challenges.

The bill aims to establish a professional body responsible for supervising the activities of Artificial Intelligence (AI) practitioners. Additionally, it seeks to secure government funding dedicated to AI research and development.

Alex Gakuru, Director of the Center for Law in Information Technology, recommends withdrawing the bill for further consultations and discussions.

Critics argue that the bill overlooks crucial aspects of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and lacks a foundational policy, potentially impeding the growth of the AI sector in Kenya. Moreover, there is a growing demand for a comprehensive law that effectively regulates AI and other emerging technologies to ensure responsible and ethical development.

The AI sector in Kenya is still in its early stages, with many young people exploring AI for the first time. Experts have emphasized the need to first lay the foundations and conduct numerous experiments before considering regulation.

The East African nation has been making significant strides in developing its digital economy. It launched a ten-year Information Communication Technology (ICT) Digital Master Plan 2022-2032 aimed at aligning with global technological advancements and enhancing the rise of its digital economy. 

Details of the plan revealed an emphasis on digital infrastructure, digital services and data management, digital skills, and driving digital innovation for entrepreneurship. 

The plan includes laying 100,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable, installing 25,000 hotspots in key business centers, developing the government cloud, and more.

It has also launched a national e-commerce strategy to fortify its position as a digital frontrunner in Africa by fostering inclusive e-commerce growth. 

Read also; US and Nigeria rank 1st & 19th for active crypto users worldwide

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