Global computing giant Microsoft has urged Caribbean countries to leverage the power of artificial intelligence (AI), saying the new technology can serve as a ‘leveling platform’ helping them compete better with the developed world.
In an interview with Trinidad daily TT News Day, Herbert Lewy, General Manager at Microsoft Caribbean, stated that AI will not destroy jobs, and that it will create more new jobs and augment the human ability by reducing repetitive tasks.
“AI can be a great equalizer in business as all countries have access to the same technology for the same price. This can improve the quality of products and efficiencies of business,” he added.
If harnessed correctly, AI can create thousands of future jobs for people around the continent.
The Caribbean has proved that farmers can use the technology to boost crop yield. Thanks to AI, the agricultural sector in the Dominican Republic saw a substantial growth, increasing its share in the country’s GDP by 14%, according to Lewy.
There are several AI projects currently underway in the Caribbean country. One such project is aimed at helping scientists make perfect prediction on rainfall. “That can save a huge number of crops,” he stated.
“The AI program was able to sense the wind speed, determine if the crops would have been uprooted by the wind or how often the plants would need watering.”
In Puerto Rico, Microsoft granted funds for a project designed to measure the impact of hurricane on the country’s biodiversity.
Recently, Microsoft partly funded a study that estimated the value that reefs contribute to the Caribbean economy. Reef-associated tourism in the Caribbean attracts more than 11 million tourists from around the world, generating US$7.9 billion in annual revenue, equivalent to more than 10% of the region’s GDP.
He also said that the region’s financial services industry can use the technology to detect fraud and protect the identity of customers.
The statement comes almost a year after the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) stated in a report that AI can boost LatAm’s gross domestic product (GDP) by one percentage point.