#GITEX2020: Keynote Address of @DrIsaPantami, Moving Ahead, the Future is Artificial Intelligence (AI)

#GITEX2020: Keynote Address of @DrIsaPantami, Moving Ahead, the Future is Artificial Intelligence (AI)

All Protocols duly observed.

May Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon you!

Global advancements have established the use of digital technology as the primary vehicle for our daily activities, this makes dialogues of this kind very crucial. It is therefore with great pleasure that I participate at this essential webinar on Artificial Intelligence.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI commonly refers to a computer science field devoted to create digital systems that perform human-like tasks, particularly those involving learning, decision-making, understanding, reasoning, and interaction. It is a key catalyst of new technology such as Big Data, Robotics and IoT and will continue to serve as a driver for digital innovation in a foreseeable future. As with other emerging technology, AI is characterized by rapid growth, radical novelty and coherence. AI makes our smart devices more intelligent, provides more useful data insights and makes cloud-based tools more effective. This technology has a significant impact in all sectors and has played a very important role in the fight against the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

The future is Artificial Intelligence
In our everyday lives, the convergence of natural language processing, predictive analytics, and the world of IoT-powered intelligent sensors have encouraged the widespread adoption of AI. AI is empowering the ability for autonomous operations which will drive efficiency optimizations, especially in highly rule-based tasks involving manpower. In a number of areas, AI and other emerging technologies have already achieved superhuman performance, and their capabilities will inevitably grow over the years. For example, Bots (Robots) powered by intelligent automation can exceed humans in their ability to make complex decisions, aided by access to large databases.

Regrettably, this has brought about the fear of the elimination of jobs and concerns on a number of ethical issues.
It is important to note that AI systems have no creativity nor compassion as in humans, they are programmed to amplify human creativity. In light of this, the pro-active way to lessen the effects of concerns with advancements in AI is to encourage the strategies to promote the learning of new skills through policies and investments in preparation for new jobs.

Emerging Technology in Nigeria
The opportunities associated with AI and global advancements alike can be unlocked by strategically positioning our economies to exploit them. Based on our proposal, the Federal Ministry of Communications was redesignated as Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR on the 17th of October, 2019 in a bid to tap into these opportunities. The change was officially endorsed at the Federal Executive Council on the 23rd of October, 2019 and the process of implementing a digital economy for the country began on the 24th of October, 2019.

Also, the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) for a Digital Nigeria was unveiled and launched by President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, on the 28th of November, 2019. The NDEPS is based on the following 8 pillars:
1. Developmental Regulation;
2. Digital Literacy and Skills;
3. Solid Infrastructure;
4. Service Infrastructure;
5. Digital Services Development and Promotion;
6. Soft Infrastructure;
7. Digital Society and Emerging Technologies; and
8. Indigenous Content Promotion and Adoption.

The Digital Society and Emerging Technology pillar makes provision for the mapping of the digital economy to the indices of well-being in the lives of citizens. AI is one of such technologies that will allow for the development of essential aspects of an economy such as good health and well-being, quality education, security, creation of jobs and innovation.

In line with this, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) was developed and launched by the Ministry in November, through the National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), as a pilot to other emerging technology programmes. This is in a bid to promote the use of emerging technologies as a tool for addressing national challenges and also to position Nigeria for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The Centre will serve as a refinery of innovative ideas where youths will be mentored to develop technological solutions in efforts to position the country to exploit the over $190 trillion global revenue generated in the emerging technology economy.

In addition, a digital innovation laboratory, Maker Space and Fabrication laboratory, Printed Circuit Board Facilities, 3-D Printer, Co-working space for ICT start-ups and training facilities, the NCAIR will house the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (MIT-REAP) office to translate research insights into practical frameworks.

Collaborations

The innovative use of AI is rapidly changing lives for the better and creating new types of jobs. We must continue discussions as it pertains to these developments across countries to allow for knowledge sharing which is imperative to managing the limitations and risks associated with the use of these technologies. Most importantly, this will inform collaborations and investments which are usually beneficially to all parties involved.

Thank you for your attention. God bless.

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