In their bid to advance knowledge of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Microsoft has introduced the Microsoft Africa Research Institute (MARI) at the Nairobi-based African Development Centre, enhancing learning in machine learning, systems and human-computer interaction (HCI).
In a statement released by Microsoft, MARI will create new collaborations between research, engineering and product innovation.
Chief Scientist for Microsoft, Jaime Teevan, during the Insitutes’ launch in Nairobi, Kenya, mentioned that research has become fundamental to Microsoft throughout its existence, and it is the core of product development.
“We are experiencing digital transformation at work, and in-depth scientific innovation is needed to provide productive and sustainable futures.” Furthermore, having a research facility in Africa ensures locally supplied technical solutions for the market.
The facility currently has combined professionals of Nairobi-based researchers, designers, data scientists, and software engineers.
The team has done its first scientific project on the digital transformation of African SMEs, focusing on how work practices have changed since COVID-19.
The research outcomes will be published as soon as they have been thoroughly analysed and reviewed.
Senior Applied Scientist of Microsoft, Dr Kagonya Awori, indicated that 86 per cent of SMEs they have engaged suggest that they have utilised new technologies during the COVID-19 pandemic. He added, “we have seen SMEs using augmented reality and virtual reality, applications we thought would fail.”