Deputy Minister of Science and Technology (between Lin Kayser and Ben Goertzel): Photo courtesy of Lin Kayser
On February 2, 2015 Getnet Asefa, the CEO of iCog Labs, standing under the azure sky over the international Airport of Addis Ababa welcomed his guests from Hong Kong, Germany, and England. His exact words were, “Welcome to the era of hi-tech meetings in East Africa”.
Before three years, it wasn’t even plausible to dream about meetings and seminars on Artificial intelligence, Robotics or social movements like transhumanism, in the Horn of Africa— the place widely known for famine, disease and endless civil, nations, tribal and what not wars.
It has been two years since the seed of the first Artificial Intelligence has been planted in Ethiopia. It all started with Getnet and Ben Goertzel, who accidentally meet during a Skype Session with a common acquaintance called Amara D. Angelica, co-founder and Editor of KurzweilAI.net. The two of them conspired, of course in the positive way, that they should organize a seminar on Artificial General Intelligence. Once, they set their mind on the consequential task, Getnet approached the Addis Ababa Institute of Technology (AAiT). The rest is history.
Open Cog signed an agreement with Addis Ababa University (AAU). The Major goal of the agreement is to build and maintain a relationship in exposing and cultivating the hidden talent within the Ethiopian developers’ community in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As part of the agreement, the university (Addis Ababa Institute of Technology/AAiT) announced that, it would establish a fully functional AI Outsourcing Laboratory inside the Amist Killo Main Campus with estimated cost of 1 million US Dollar.