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The Ugandan data scientist curing our fear of artificial intelligence

Zlata Rodionova talks to Mike Bugembe about why we shouldn’t worry about robots taking our jobs

Saturday 30 November 2019 20:26
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‘I’m struggling to find an area where machine learning can’t help an organisation’
‘I’m struggling to find an area where machine learning can’t help an organisation’

Many people are afraid of artificial intelligence and how it could change the world. They’re afraid of robots taking our jobs, companies infringing our privacy and even intelligent machines turning against us and wiping out humanity – a la SkyNet, the computer system gone rogue in Terminator.

But Mike Bugembe, a data scientist, consultant and author, is on a mission to show how data can have a positive social and financial impact on organisations. As the former chief of analytics at JustGiving, he developed a series of algorithms that resulted in over £20m in extra donations in just a year and was later part of the team that sold the company for £95m.

He told The Independent: “We live in an increasingly machine-driven world. So you’ve got to understand how this stuff works and future-proof your organisation. I love the fact that I can remove that fear people have of AI and I can help them really see the value of it and become excited about it. I help leaders understand how they can be part of the picture instead of being replaced by machines.”

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