South Africa’s Cybercrime Crisis: 5 Steps to Solving It

South Africa's Cybercrime Crisis: 5 Steps to Solving It


In an increasingly interconnected world, cyber-attacks have become a significant threat to countries’ strategic, economic, and social well-being. South Africa, in particular, is facing a pressing cybercrime crisis, as evidenced by its ranking as the sixth-highest country in cybercrime density. The repercussions of cyber-attacks are far-reaching, posing severe risks to innovation, economic growth, and personal security. To combat this growing menace, we must implement a comprehensive cybersecurity ecosystem. In this blog post, we will delve into five crucial steps to solving South Africa’s cybercrime crisis and ensuring a safer digital future for all.

  1. Recognizing Cybercrime as a Governance Issue

First and foremost, it is imperative to treat cybercrime as a governance issue. Just as good corporate governance practices hold boards of directors and top management accountable for organizational oversight, the government must take responsibility for ensuring the country’s resilience against cyber-attacks. This means acknowledging cyber threats at the highest levels of government, with the President and Cabinet leading the charge in formulating and implementing effective cybersecurity strategies.

  1. Cultivating Skilled Cyber Practitioners and Advisors

A critical pillar in the fight against cybercrime is the availability of skilled cybersecurity practitioners and advisors. South Africa, like many countries, faces a severe shortage of cybersecurity experts both in the public and private sectors. To address this scarcity, we need to invest in robust cybersecurity education and training programs. Universities and private colleges should offer specialized courses, but we must also consider alternative pathways, like vocational training and programs directed towards schools. By fostering a diverse and competent workforce, we can equip the nation to identify and prevent cyber-attacks effectively.

The dark side of the AI boom: social and environmental impacts

ai boom environmental social impacts


The AI boom has been a dominant topic in mainstream conversations, with a primary focus on its potential impact on our future, including superintelligent AI and job displacement. However, amidst these discussions, we often neglect to address the wider ramifications of our increasing reliance on AI technologies. Just like any other form of consumption, the usage of AI brings forth “externalities” – indirect effects that ripple beyond the immediate realm. In this blog, we shed light on the lesser-explored territory of the environmental footprint and the social consequences of our voracious appetite for AI.

Environmental Impacts of AI

As AI adoption skyrockets, so do its environmental costs. In 2019, the digital technology sector was estimated to produce more carbon emissions than the aviation industry. Although AI’s current carbon contribution is less than 1% of the total, its projected growth suggests a ninefold increase by 2030.

AI tools, such as ChatGPT, are built on complex computational systems called large language models (LLMs), hosted in data centers worldwide. The development, training, and usage of these models costs substantial resources. For example, the carbon footprint of a model similar in complexity to OpenAI’s GPT-3 was equivalent to 60 flights from New York to London. More carbon-intensive grids powering larger models, like GPT-3, exacerbate emissions further.

Moreover, the water demands of data centers, used for cooling servers, raise additional environmental concerns. Data centers, which play a pivotal role in AI operations, require vast amounts of water for efficient cooling, resulting in significant water consumption.

In response to the lack of transparency regarding water footprints, recent studies estimated that training GPT-3 consumed between 210,000 and 700,000 liters of water, akin to producing hundreds of cars. This staggering water usage highlights the substantial environmental impact AI model training can have.

Even a single conversation with ChatGPT was found to “consume” the equivalent of a 500 milliliter bottle of water. Such seemingly insignificant interactions accumulate on a global scale, significantly contributing to AI’s overall water footprint.

The environmental consequences of AI are far-reaching and demand immediate attention and sustainable solutions to mitigate its ecological footprint. As AI technology continues to advance, understanding and addressing its environmental impacts must remain at the forefront of our discussions. Only through proactive measures can we strive for a future where AI innovation coexists harmoniously with environmental preservation.