Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the effort to create computers capable of intelligent behavior. It can be classified into two types of AI “narrow AI”-computer systems that are better than humans in some specific, well-defined field, and “general AI,” systems that can surpass human capabilities in many domains. AI relies on large amounts of data to learn, create patterns that it uses to perform the actions it is tasked to do. The world is currently experiencing its fourth industrial revolution popularly referred to as Digital Transformation and AI is earmarked as being at the heart of this new era.
Kenya’s traffic situation is dire with deaths due to road traffic crashes estimated between 3,000 to 13,000 each year. Based on 2017 stats of the National Transport & Safety Authority (NTSA), pedestrians are the most vulnerable groups representing 39% of fatalities. Another 22% of victims are passengers, 12% are drivers while casualties due to motorbikes reached 18%. The reasons for these are many including poor driving behavior such as speeding, breaking traffic rules including talking on mobile phones or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Overloading vehicles, not wearing seatbelts, poorly maintained vehicles and bad surface roads contribute to the rise in road traffic accidents.
Driverless Cars Can Benefit Kenya
In his study of road accidents in Kenya, Odero concludes that 85% of road mishaps was caused by human errors. Collisions between vehicles and pedestrians were the worse. Utility vehicles and buses were involved in 62% of accidents that lead to injuries. Faulty or poorly-maintained vehicles were also to blame. The costs of these accidents are estimated at Sh300 billion or $2.9 billion a year according to the 2015 NTSA report.
The introduction of driverless cars can significantly reduce the rate of accidents in the country. But before these autonomous cars could be driven on Kenyan streets, extensive testing needs to be done. Moreover, once on the road, there are other factors that play before deployment can even be considered. One of these is the IT law.
Driverless cars are dependent on the development of autonomous driving technologies. The biggest issue that crops up once an autonomous vehicle is driven is: who is responsible for the car and its actions? Is it the owner of the vehicle, the manufacturer or the creator of the autonomous driving system?
Autonomous Vehicles Can Save Lives
Before we can tackle the question, let us look at how testing of AVs has evolved. Without a doubt, driverless cars are big business. That is why automakers and technology giants are scrambling to get a big piece of the action. The likes of Waymo, Uber, Tesla and Apple have invested heavily in developing autonomous vehicles that are ready for deployment on the road.
In an ideal world, these vehicles are safer. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are fitted with 360 degree cameras that allow them to see from all angles. They can use LIDAR technology which is a detection system using laser enabling them to see better and further. AVs can plot their course based on real time information so they can also change their routes and adjust their speed. In short, they can see better than the human eye.
Safe Testing Is Critical
The Uber test vehicle that killed a pedestrian in March this year suggested that the technology is not fully developed. According to the police report, the Uber car failed to identify the victim as a pedestrian and did nothing to avoid hitting her. The human operator who was inside the AV was also apparently watching a video before the crash occurred. In another incident, a Tesla Model X SUV crashed into a road barrier and killed its driver. It was on auto pilot mode. These accidents tell us that more safe testing needs to be done before the technology can be considered roadworthy.
There is also no existing legal framework that puts people or entities liable for accidents and deaths that may occur due to failures of AVs. While some countries are in the process of putting laws and regulations in place before driverless vehicles are put in circulation, there are still many snags that need to be untangled. For now, safe road testing is a top priority along with legislation, local zoning and stringent testing requirements.
Implications for the Kenya’s Road and Traffic
Chaotic Kenyan roads are even more of a challenge for AV testing. Not only are there more humans on the road, there are also cyclists, motor bikers and even animals. Driverless cars will have to learn to navigate around so many obstacles. Perhaps, this is also where they might make the biggest difference as hectic cities are places where the most collisions happen claiming more lives.
There are many benefits of autonomous vehicles for humans and the environment. However, safe testing of their capability on roads should be further enhanced. In addition, regulatory measures and a legal framework must be in place before they circulate in traffic.
In 1892, when Mr. Aron Salomon was making leather boots and shoes in his White Chapel High Street establishment, he had no idea that his enterprise would shape the nature and operation of modern trade. Since his sons wanted to become business partners, he turned the business into a limited liability company. The company purchased Salomon’s business at an excessive price for its value with his wife and five elder children becoming subscribers and the two elder sons directors but as nominee for Salomon, making it a one-man business. Not only didn’t Mr. Salomon take 20,001 of the company’s 20,007 shares, the company also gave Mr. Salomon £10,000 in debentures. When the company’s business failed and it went into liquidation, Salomon’s right of recovery against the debentures stood prior to the claims of unsecured creditors, who would, thus, have recovered nothing from the liquidation proceeds.
The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a global multistakeholder forum that promotes discussions and dialogue about public policy issues related to the Internet. It was first convened in 2006 by the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General. With the renewal of its mandate by the UN General Assembly in December 2015, the IGF has consolidated its position as a platform for bringing together members of various stakeholder groups as equals. While there is no negotiated outcome, the IGF informs and inspires those with policy-making powers in both the public and private sectors. Delegates hold discussions, exchange information and share good practices with each other at the annual meetings. The 12th annual meeting of the IGF took place between 18 and 21 December 2017 at the UN Office at Geneva in Switzerland. This blogger was fortunate to make his maiden appearance at this year’s IGF.
On the last day of #IGF2017, only the able few were left as the number of participants dramatically dropped. The first session of the day was on: ‘Exploring Implications of Big and Artificial Intelligence for Knowledge Societies and SDGs’ was organised as an open forum by UNESCO to trigger debates and reflections on the human rights and other implications of big data and artificial intelligence (AI) on building inclusive knowledge societies and achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
Cybercrime, referred to as crime conducted through the internet or some other computer network, has been rampant both in Kenya and around the world. According to the Kenya Cyber Security Report of 2015, the top cyber security issues in Kenya were: data exfiltration, social engineering, insider threatsand database breaches. The risk of cybercrime is exacerbated by the fact that the number of internet subscribers is on the rise every year. According to the 2015 Economic Survey Report of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics internet subscriptions increased from 1, 579,387 subscribers in 2009 to 8,506,748 in 2012. To top it off, there were about 26.1 million internet users in Kenya as of December 2014. Bearing in mind that the commission of cybercrime knows no territorial boundaries, there are numerous cyber security risks posed to companies, individuals and the government alike.