5th August 2020 at 09:00-18:00

Building a responsible AI ecosystem in South Africa.

Conference Date: 5th August 2020 at 09:00

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About the conference

The AI Dialogue is a multi-stakeholder event that aims to bring together South Africans in the AI Ecosystem to try and find a common ground in using AI as a driver for economic growth, social development and safety. This dialogue will involve policy makers, the technology industry, organized labour, startups and SMMEs, business, academia and research and lastly civil society.

The AI dialogue will offer a sector input from a number of individuals. Other issues that the dialogue will address is youth and women in AI, the ethics of AI and laws around the topic. During the dialogue there will be an AI EOI discussion, adoption and resolution by all attendees.

  • The AI Dialogue will consist of a number of breakaway rooms that touch on:
  • The future of work and labour
  • Ethics and Law
  • AI Business and Investments
  • Academia, Research & Development and Innovation
  • Politics and AI
  • Technology

Program Schedule

Welcome and introducing
keynote speakers

  • Geaneth Pertunia Mashile
    Program Director
  • 09:00 am - 9:10 AM

Future of AI: South African Context

  • Prof Tshilidzi Marwala Vice-Chancellor and Principal University of Johannesburg
  • 09:10 am - 9:45 AM

Women's Month Message

  • Polo Leteka
    President of The Association of Black Security and Investment Professionals
  • 09:45 AM - 10:05 AM

Next Generation AI

  • Prof Toshio Fukuda
    President of the IEEE
    The IEEE is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
  • 10:05 AM - 10:30 AM

Sector Inputs 1: Startup & SMME

  • Embrace a bottom-up approach market creation model. Start-ups to utilize AI in solving non-consumption in the local context. The result of a new breed of enterprises as a result of the market creating innovations. Start-ups are in a better positions than incumbents.
  • 10:35 AM - 11:00 AM

Sector Inputs 2: Business for South Africa & Black Business Council

  • African businesses can grow and thrive by the innovative use of 4IR technologies including AI and the adoption of sustainable and responsible business practices. The use of AI by customers, employees and market participants will create new opportunities and challenges for incumbent businesses requiring them to develop new capabilities and operating models.
  • 11:00 AM - 11:35 AM


  • 11:35 AM - 11:55 AM

Sector Inputs 3: Academic Research and Innovation

  • Africa’s education systems must adapt to the needs of the future digital job market, focusing STEM from ECD. The is a need for funding in STEM and information and communications fields to boost local research and creation of IP and prepare youth for digital reality.
  • 11:55 AM - 12:15 PM

Sector Inputs 4: Civil Society

  • Understand the capabilities and limitations of AI. Participate in the creation and regulation of AI systems for human good.
  • 12:15 PM - 12:35 PM

Sector Inputs 5: Labour & Future of Work

  • AI debate to protect workers’ rights, human rights, and decent working standards. AI Has capacity to augment human work—if workers’ representatives have a voice in implementing AI tools.
  • 12:35 PM - 12:55 PM

Sector Inputs 6: Labour & Future of Work

  • The transparency of the Data Collection and Management process – data collection, management and analysis.
    - Lifecycle of data.
    - Bias management
    - Redistribution of data benefits.
    - Skills and Training
    - Worker and Trade union Involvement.
  • 12:55 PM - 13:15 PM

Youth Panel

  • Panelists
    - Mr Hyram Seretta
    - Mr Karabo Maboka
    - Ms Raesetja Sefala
    - Mr Waseem Carrim (CEO of NYDA)

  • Youngest population of unemployed youth who are digital natives.
    - Digital literacy
    - AI literacy
    - Include Youth in decision making
  • 13:15 PM - 13:35 PM

Technology Panel

  • Panelists
    - Mr Siya Madyibi (Microsoft SA Country Lead)
    - Daniel Acton (google SA)
    - Mr Hamilton Ratshefola (Country Lead for IBM South Africa)

  • Design of AI key to empowering and equipping people.
  • 13:35 PM - 13:55 PM

Womens Panel

  • Panelists
    - Ms Irene Charnley (Chief Executive: Smile Communications)
    - Dr Luz Helena Hanauer (Executive Director of the WDB Trust)
    - Ms Kele Boakgomo
    - Dr Maria Motebang

  • Scott E. Page (The Diversity Bonus) highlights the importance of cognitive diversity—differences in how humans perceive, interpret, reason and solve—in human groups. The more diverse the participants, he argues, the more opportunities to discover insights and novel approaches.
  • 13:55 PM - 14:15 PM

Introduction of the draft EOI

  • 14:15 PM - 14:35 PM

Lunch Time

  • 14:35 PM - 15:00 PM

Breakaway Sessions

  • 1. Academia, Research & Innovation
    2. Future of Work and Labour
    3. Business and Investments
    4. Law and Ethics
    5. AI and International Relations
    6. Technology
    7. Capital markets and Actuarial Science
  • 15:00 PM - 16:30 PM

Drafting and Signing of EOI

  • Open to All

Expression of Interest - Draft

  • 16:30: PM - 17:30 PM

Signing of EOI Press Release

  • Open to All
  • 17:30 PM - 18:00 PM

Background and Context

Get to know our motivation

Artificial Intelligence is no longer a technology of the future, but one that is widely used today.
Advances in artificial intelligence will alter the relational hierarchy, machine change from being instructed agents,
to being peers and ultimately, decision-makers that augment human capability and even replace human requirement in certain situations.
A new social paradigm between human and the machine in the cyber-physical or Cyborgs era is unfolding.


A multi-stakeholder dialogue by South Africans to find a common ground in A.I. as a driver for economic growth, social development and safety of our country. Position SA in as a contributing member of global AI community.

The multi- stakeholder dialogue will reflect on outcome from the 4IR Commission -specifically A.I.


The AI Dialogue will bring together South African AI stakeholders. This will be done through an online multi stakeholder dialogue. The dialogue will have speakers from different sectors of society sharing their views on how they might be impacted by AI in the future.

By engaging in a multi stakeholder dialogue, this event aims to find a common ground for South Africa to harness the powers of AI in a way that will benefit everyone.


The purpose of the AI dialogue is to bring together South Africa’s artificial intelligence ecosystem/community to collaborate and harness the power of AI technologies to build African-centric solutions that will enable a prosperous South Africa that is able to be positively impacted by AI.

Discussion Streams

Areas of discussion

Politics of AI
& it's impact

  • Centralized vs Distributed Decision
  • Policies and Regulation
  • Democracies (AI threat or tool of change)
  • National Security
  • Domestic and Foreign Policy
  • Geopolitics
  • Human Rights
  • Facial Recognition Policies

Labour & the future of work

  • Education, Skills & Training
  • AI impacts on labour policies
  • Employment in the AI world
  • Automation - Competing with the machine
  • Labour Unions in the AI future
  • Workforce Diversity

& Ethics

  • Populations Surveillance
  • Exclusion vs inclusion
  • Transparency
  • Algorithmic Bias
  • Data & Ownership
  • Geopolitics
  • Human Rights
  • The Ethics of AI

Business & Investment

  • AI Investment Models
  • Attracting AI Investments
  • Building an AI ecosystem
  • The Economic Benefits of AI
  • Fair Competition
  • New Business Models – Impact
  • Open Source/Systems
  • AI Fund

Academia, Innovation, Research
& Development

  • Unlocking the potential of AI through academic research
  • Innovative AI solutions for the developing world
  • Investing in South Africa’s AI future
  • Education, Skills & Training
  • Preparing the youth for an AI Future
  • AI Human Development Agenda 2035

Expected Outcomes from AI Dialogue South Africa:

The AI Dialogue South Africa must benefit society by ensuring that AI in our country is built to assist everyone. This will be done though advocating for AI in South Africa to respect constitutional rights and the bill of rights.
An Expression of Interest(EOI) between all stakeholders on AI will be one critical output from the event. The EOI will touch on the following:

  • Private Sector Establishment of an South Africa AI fund & AI Institute
  • Grant for Research by academia
  • Funding for AI start-ups, incubators and accelerators
  • Development of AI School curriculum for early introduction in school
  • Support the export of local AI initiatives, products, services and solutions
  • Establish AI market place for AI start-ups
  • Convene annual AI symposium for all stakeholders
  • Establish private sector workstreams: health, education, mining, automotive
  • Negotiate 5-Year tax holiday for AI companies
  • Represent SA in Global AI forum and initiatives
  • Build teams to compete in global AI competitions
  • Engage in bilateral knowledge transfer with other AI global institutes
  • Run awareness master class seminars for labour, and society at large
  • PPP in the field of AI
  • Contacts

    Get more information from our event contact