Ethical landscape of AI: Lessons for Zim

As the world grapples with the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the need to address the ethical implications of these transformative tools has become increasingly pressing.

LAST week, we focused extensively on the ethical dilemmas surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI). This week, we delve deeper to unravel the complexities of AI ethics.

As the world grapples with the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, the need to address the ethical implications of these transformative tools has become increasingly pressing.

Zimbabwe, like many other nations, finds itself at the crossroads of harnessing the immense potential of AI while navigating the complex ethical landscape that accompanies it.

By drawing lessons from the global AI ecosystem, Zimbabwe can chart a course that not only fosters innovation but also upholds the principles of fairness, transparency, and accountability.

Confronting AI bias

One of the biggest problems with AI is bias. AI models can pick up biases from the data they use, causing ethical concerns like discrimination.

If AI models are trained on biased or limited data, they can become biased too. This can worsen discrimination and reinforce existing biases.

If an AI is trained on data that prefers hiring men, it might discriminate against women when evaluating job applicants. Since AI learns from the data it gets, biased data leads to biased results.

To tackle this issue, it is necessary to carefully review and broaden the training data and thoroughly test AI systems for bias. By addressing bias, we can develop and deploy AI in an ethical and responsible way.

This is a concern that has been raised by experts like Hannah Rudland, a tech and AI expert based in Zimbabwe. To address this challenge, Zimbabwe can learn from the approaches taken by other countries and regions.

The European Union, for instance, has developed comprehensive guidelines on the ethical development of AI, emphasising the need for diverse and representative training data.

Similarly, South Africa has leveraged AI to analyse the impact of racial segregation in housing, demonstrating how these technologies can be used to identify and mitigate systemic biases.

By adopting similar strategies, Zimbabwe can ensure that its AI-powered systems are designed to be inclusive and equitable, serving the needs of all its citizens.

Ensuring privacy and accountability

The proliferation of AI-driven surveillance and data collection has raised significant concerns about individual privacy and civil liberties. As Zimbabwe explores the deployment of AI technologies, it must heed the lessons from global experiences, where the use of facial recognition by law enforcement and public agencies has sparked debates about the erosion of privacy rights.

Addressing this challenge will require Zimbabwe to develop robust legal and ethical frameworks that prioritise informed consent, data minimisation, and the right to privacy.

Additionally, the country can leverage emerging privacy-preserving AI technologies, such as federated learning and differential privacy, to safeguard sensitive information while still harnessing the benefits of these transformative tools.

Alongside privacy concerns, the issue of accountability is paramount. Zimbabwe must establish clear mechanisms for holding AI developers, users, and organisations responsible for the outcomes of their AI-powered systems, especially in critical domains like healthcare, finance, and criminal justice.

Fostering ethical AI governance

Navigating the ethical landscape of AI requires a collaborative and multifaceted approach.

Zimbabwe can draw inspiration from global efforts to develop comprehensive ethical guidelines and governance frameworks that involve not only technologists but also ethicists, policymakers, and representatives from affected communities.

By fostering international cooperation and aligning its AI strategies with global norms and standards, Zimbabwe can position itself as a leader in the responsible development and deployment of these technologies.

This will not only build trust and credibility within the global AI ecosystem but also ensure that the country's AI-driven initiatives are aligned with the values and aspirations of its citizens.

Investing in AI research

To address the ethical challenges posed by AI, Zimbabwe must also invest in research and development that prioritizes the exploration of ethical AI solutions.

This includes the development of new methodologies for bias detection and mitigation, the creation of privacy-preserving technologies, and the integration of ethical considerations into the decision-making processes of AI systems.

By nurturing a thriving ecosystem of ethical AI research and innovation, Zimbabwe cannot only address its own challenges but also contribute to the global advancement of this critical field, positioning itself as a hub for responsible AI development.


As Zimbabwe navigates the transformative potential of AI, it must do so with a steadfast commitment to ethical principles.

By learning from the experiences and best practices of the global AI ecosystem, the country can develop a comprehensive approach that balances innovation and ethical considerations, ultimately positioning itself as a leader in the responsible deployment of these transformative technologies.

Through collaborative efforts, robust governance frameworks and strategic investments in ethical AI research, Zimbabwe can harness the power of AI to drive sustainable development, enhance public service delivery, and improve the lives of its citizens while upholding the values of fairness, transparency, and accountability.

Meanwhile, in the publication Fortune, Jane Their wrote, “On Friday 26 April 2024, Google announced a US$75 million grant in an up-skilling initiative called the AI Opportunity Fund.

The fund, meted out through, the company’s philanthropic arm — aims to make AI training more accessible across the globe, namely in underserved communities and those working in non-profits or small businesses.

In tandem, the ubiquitous tech giant announced it is rolling out a new product-agnostic course on AI essentials, geared at covering foundational AI skills and best practices.

“AI offers significant opportunities to accelerate economic growth, particularly if people have access to the right resources and training,” James Manyika, Google’s senior vice president of Research, Technology and Society, wrote in a press release.

“’s new AI Opportunity Fund and Google’s AI Essentials Course are important next steps in our commitment to ensure everyone, everywhere can access AI training.

No single employer or policymaker will be able to modernise workforce programmes on their own,” Manyika is quoted as having said.

“We are committed to collaborating across industry, civil society and government to ensure the opportunities created by new technologies are available to everyone.”

Bangure is a filmmaker with extensive experience in newspaper production technologies. He has considerable exposure to IT networks and Cloud. He is an AI enthusiast and scholar. — [email protected]

Related Topics