Director's Message

Social Connectivity, Artificial Intelligence and The Internet:

Whether we send a billion dollars across the planet by the click of a mouse and the flight of an electron, or we send a affectionate note to our beloved across the street with a tweet, the flow of information on the Internet is enormous and the scale of the social networking phenomenon is amazing.

The Internet made social connectivity possible, and it has taken off at an unbelievable speed and has already reached a staggering scale. Reflect for a moment how recently these ubiquitous facets of the ICT revolution were born:

•        2004 Facebook

•        2005 YouTube

•        2007 iPhone, the first smart phone

And think about their penetration:  Social networking will be reaching 75% of all Internet Users by the end of the year 2016.

The social and psychological aspects of virtual socializing, as opposed to the real world experience, are the subject of much discussion and debate. In addition, the vast expansion of connectivity especially with the huge spread of sensor networks which have the capacity of extending the human nervous system beyond anything that we have experienced before, will take us into new realms. This means that virtual experiences can be much expanded in the years ahead.

Accompanied by a rapid expansion in Artificial intelligence (AI) these developments sketch a world of much more than self-driving cars.  It is a world where the internet of things, where machines communicate directly with other machines without human intermediaries are right around the corner.   It is a word where Africa must find its rightful place, and where the unbridled imagination of our youth becomes our greatest resource.

 

Sincerely,
Ismail Serageldin
Librarian of Alexandria
Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina(BA)