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Artificial intelligence policy in Nigeria

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By Timothy Akintola

Evaluating the growth and policies of artificial intelligence in Nigeria.

In truth, the artificial intelligence space in Nigeria has witnessed tremendous development over the years, attributed to the immense Innovation" target="_blank">Digital Innovation and technological sophistication. In fact, Artificial Intelligence remains a significant technological paradigm for business, Economy, and largely, the society. The global scene is also creating measures to adapt to and manage the exponential technological phenomenon to improve their country’s welfare. Thus, there is a need for comprehensively expanding the concept of AI, taking into account, its technical, legal, organizational social and philosophical dimensions.

Artificial Technology is an automated system that is able to mimic human intelligence and perform tasks, continually refining itself with collected data. It is one of the most significant forms of technology in its mode of enhancing commerce, the economy and society in general. Though, there are numerous types of AI algorithms, two outweigh the others when in their significant to business: firstly, the algorithm that uses predetermined, human-redefined rules for predictions, suggestions and decisions, secondly, the algorithm that only learns these rules from collected data.

Development of NAIP aimed at maximizing opportunities & mitigating risks.

However, the municipal laws and ordinances of the government follows are characterized by are designated policy that impacts the entirety of the people’s lives. Recognizing the immense growth and impending potential value of digital technologies, which is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s plan for the diversification of Nigeria’s Economy by the utilization of digital technology, the president has launched a policy that will help the country with leveraging the numerous opportunities that digital technology provides. It is the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), developed by the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy.

The President showed his gratitude to the Minister of Communications and Digital Marketing, Professor Isa Pantami for directing the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) towards developing the National Artificial Intelligence Policy (NAIP). Mrs. Hadiza Umar, NITDA’s Spokesperson, in a signed press statement also asserted that the development of the National Artificial Intelligence Policy (NAIP) was aimed at ensuring the maximization of opportunities, mitigation of imminent risks, as well as addressing the complexities associated with the use of artificial intelligence on our day-to-day activities, which according to him, will help the country with regards on how to take advantage of this advancement in relation to its development, usage and adoption for the facilitation and development of a sustainable digital economy.

Federal government to work with NCS to enhance artificial intelligence.

The NITDA will be saddled with the responsibility of the development of standards, frameworks and guidelines for the country’s information technology sector, as entrenched in the Section 6 of NITDA Act 2007. Thus, the agency is open to the public’s contributions towards developing the NAIP. Prof. Pantami, whilst launching the National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR) establishment in 2020, made mention of the immense advantages of that could be derived from this project. He also noted that the federal government was prepared to work closely with the Nigeria Computer Society on ways to enhance the artificial intelligence and improve the nation’s economic standing.

During the Artificial Intelligence Summit, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, represented by Mr. Yau Garba, the Director of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics noted that the agency was working with numerous researchers across Tertiary Institutions in the country to improve the research of AI and other emerging technologies. The aim of the artificial Intelligence policy is said to be dual, where the federal government must immensely invest in developing and implementing artificial intelligence which can be accomplished by funding researches, training AI specialists, developing digital infrastructures and implementing schemes that will enhance the adoption of the AI technology mode by public and private sectors. Also, the government must ensure to react to the issues like algorithm bias and automation caused by the AI development.

Policymakers to consult specialists from all spheres to ensure development.

The development of AI technology in Nigeria cannot be restricted to just computer scientists. If the development is to go through the right process, policymakers must ensure that specialists like economists, ethicists, philosophers and psychologists are also consulted. The NITDA is taking tremendous steps towards including the general’s contributions in order to make this policy hugely beneficial to the general public. These tech analysts, commentators, ICT specialists and the general public must take this opportunity to provide the agency with their perspectives towards ensuring the success of the National Artificial Intelligence Policy.


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