South Africans’ interest in artificial intelligence is on the rise, according to Google Trends search data.

According to data from Google Trends, South Africans’ interest in artificial intelligence is on the rise. The data measured the number of searches about the technology in the country.

The initial interest peaked in December 2022, a month after OpenAI released their widely popular AI chatbot ChatGPT. The next peak was in February 2023, the same week that Google released their ChatGPT competitor, Bard. The first week of April also saw a new peak in searches on AI, followed by the week of July 16th which recorded the highest volume of searches ever in the country.

Searches about AI are on the rise in SA, according to data by Google Trends. (Image source: Google Trends)

Some of the most popular search topics on AI were information about conversational AI chatbots. ChatGPT led the way in terms of the number of search queries, followed by BardAI and other generative AI tools including and The Western Cape attracted generated the most number of search queries, followed by Gauteng, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal. 


In July 2023, following increasing interest in AI in the country, the South African Artificial Intelligence Association (SAAIA) was launched in partnership with the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT). The body aims to promote responsible AI adoption for commercial and societal benefit in South Africa as well as attract foreign direct investment, facilitate international market access for African tech companies, and showcase South African AI innovation.

Some of the founding members of the association include Google, the University of Johannesburg, the Western Cape Government, and Gauteng Tourism Authority.

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