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Deloitte Africa launches Generative AI practice

Leveraging the power and versatility of transformative technology

Johannesburg, South Africa – July 09, 2023: Deloitte Africa today announced the launch of its Generative AI practice for the Africa market, bringing together industry experience, skilled AI engineers as well as ecosystem and alliance partners to build Generative AI solutions aimed at accelerating the pace of business innovation.

“There’s been extensive discussion across industries around the capabilities of generative AI technology and its potential to revolutionise the way we work, how it allows for digital systems to understand us as humans, without effort; and for us humans to create digital systems and solutions quickly and at scale.

We will be going much further than exploring what’s possible – we enter the market with the aim of creating what’s next,” says Quentin Williams, Director and AI Leader for Deloitte Africa.

“Think about humans with machines, strategy with insights, cost reduction through automation, data with purpose, speed with precision. The power of this symbiotic relationship has never been more significant,” Williams continues.

“Not just a tool, Generative AI is the catalyst that not only empowers us to reimagine and shape the future but indeed, to create it. Through our Africa Generative AI Practice, we will harness the power of innovation and technology to unlock unprecedented possibilities. We aim to, and will; increase AI fluency within the market, grow AI talent on the continent and together with our alliance partners, take enterprise scale Generative AI solutions to our clients.

Through this practice, our clients now have access to Artificial Intelligence Labs, accelerated use-case development and Large Language Model managed services - all within our Trustworthy AI framework. The vast potential of AI combined with human insights is set to revolutionise industries and amplify economic growth. We are fostering sustainable development across the African continent and I for one am here for it,” says Jania Okwechime, Partner, Data Analytics and AI Leader for Deloitte West Africa.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Generative AI has already begun revolutionising industries, with its capability to analyse unstructured and structured data and model it in a way that makes human sense. This results in simplifying the engagement between humans and digital systems, enhancing productivity and innovation at an accelerated pace.

“With our clients, we will harness that power, move faster and with greater precision that improves decision-making and creates mutually beneficial connections with customers,” says Ryan Norris, Director, AI and Data business Leader for Deloitte Africa.

Deloitte Africa’s Generative AI practice will help/guide clients and business leaders as they design their strategies and leverage technology to create innovative AI-fueled applications. This will significantly alter business processes, bring about efficiency gains and productivity improvements. The collective power of data management, analytics, intelligent automation and artificial intelligence is significantly shortening the effectiveness of investments for businesses on a journey to being Insights Driven Organisations.

“In Africa, this will allow enterprises to leapfrog to their next-level innovation, accelerate digital advancement and generate new economic opportunities,” Norris continues.

Many industries will be impacted by Generative AI. It’s already reshaping energy management insofar as optimising the delivery of electricity to different regions, even finding the most efficient way to schedule maintenance. Energy distribution networks already include digital twins. By training a Generative AI model on the distribution network layout and geography, it can “learn” to simulate different maintenance and distribution choices and generate new routing and scheduling strategies that minimize costs and maximize efficiency for utilities companies. This information can then be used to optimize grid integration as the technology extends beyond the physical distribution networks and production processes to include the digital twin.

In healthcare, AI-based solutions can effectively streamline diagnostic and treatment processes by using large amounts of structured and unstructured medical data across institutions. This can help physicians at hospitals in clinical decision-making by providing them with real-time, data-driven insights that they can alter and implement based on their personal expertise.

The potential of Generative AI in the legal sector has also captured the imagination in ways unmatched in other professional services, given its heavy reliance on precedent and legislation, and the prevalence of text generation and review as its core tasks. Legal work is particularly susceptible to AI application. In fact, GPT-4 has already passed the Bar exam in the US.

While it’s clear that these technologies will facilitate increased efficiencies, there are also some risks to consider.

Many generative AI systems are yet to incorporate ethics into their decision making and their results are reliant on the data upon which they have been trained. This could result in AI systems creating outputs that are not aligned with an organisation’s own ethical principles – a potential reputational risk. Additionally, algorithms and machine learning models have already been adopted by financial institutions to support with trading, investment, and credit decisions. As firms consider the adoption of generative AI technology there is an increased risk that unidentified flaws or inadequate data could result in financial losses.

“We can help organisations build the right infrastructure, collect, and manage the right data, train the right models to create generative AI solutions that are effective and scalable and validate prebuilt models to ensure alignment to your firm’s ethics and values. All while managing regulatory risks through the Deloitte Trustworthy AI framework.

Whether exploring opportunities to increase revenue, improve productivity and reduce costs, identify potential risks and comply with sustainability regulations OR completely rethinking how your business will function in the future using these technologies - we can help you leverage the power and versatility of AI to reach new levels of organisational excellence,” concludes Wessel Oosthuizen, Associate Director for Digital Risk Solutions and Africa AI Institute Leader at Deloitte Africa.