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Local language model launched by FG for AI dev.

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By Abiodun Okunloye

About 7,000 participants from 3MTT will contribute to this initiative.

The Nigerian government has recently introduced a new multilingual model called the Large Language Model (LLM) to address inquiries in various languages. Bosun Tijani, who serves as the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, announced this development through a series of updates on X platform on April 19th. Tijani unveiled a set of new projects agreed upon during the recently wrapped up National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (NAIS) workshop, where more than 120 AI professionals collaborated to establish a national framework for implementing AI technology.

He announced that the Linguistic Language Masters (LLM) program will provide training in five underrepresented languages, including English, to enrich datasets for AI development. Additionally, he mentioned that more than 7,000 participants from the ministry’s 3MTT initiative will contribute to this initiative. Tijani expressed enthusiasm over the progress made during a productive week of collaborating with more than 120 Artificial Intelligence specialists. He announced the completion of the first draft of the National AI Strategy and shared news of important advancements and collaborations that will propel the advancement of AI in Nigeria.

Funding and partnerships from groups will enhance the AI initiative.

A collaboration has been established between 21st Century Technologies and the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) to advance the progress of Artificial Intelligence initiatives of significance to the nation. The funding from 21st Century Technologies will support the purchase of an initial batch of graphics processing units (GPUs) to enhance the country’s computing capabilities. Local researchers, start-ups, and government entities working on important AI projects will have access to the computer housed at the GBB data centre in the FCT.

They are excited to reveal the relaunch of NCAIR with upgraded capabilities due to the backing of CISCO. NCAIR, the pioneering special purpose vehicle in Africa, is dedicated to fostering research and development in cutting-edge technologies like AI, Robotics, UAV, IoT, and their real-world implementation in Nigerian strategic sectors. Tijani expressed confidence that the enhanced capabilities of NCAIR will enable it to effectively carry out its mission as a centre for digital innovation and research.

Linguistic diversity and inclusivity in the digital sphere will be promoted.

This new model caters to the unique linguistic characteristics of local languages, ensuring more accurate and effective communication between AI systems and users who speak these languages. This model incorporates advanced natural language processing techniques to understand better and respond to the nuances of different local languages, ultimately enhancing the user experience and expanding the reach of AI technology to a more diverse audience. By prioritizing the development of AI models for local languages, they seek to promote linguistic diversity and inclusivity in the digital sphere.

Also, this initiative aligns with the FG’s commitment to creating solutions that are tailored to the needs and preferences of users from various linguistic backgrounds, helping to break down language barriers and foster greater global connectivity. Through this innovative development model, government will drive innovation and foster the widespread adoption of AI technology in communities where local languages are prevalent. By empowering individuals to interact with the systems in their native languages, they are working towards a more inclusive and accessible future for technology, where cultural and linguistic diversity is celebrated and supported.

Related Article: Google to train Nigerian journalists in AI

Overall, this has the potential to make a significant impact on the Nigerian economy by promoting digital inclusion, fostering innovation, and driving economic opportunities for individuals and businesses across the country. It represents a strategic investment in leveraging Nigeria’s linguistic diversity as a competitive advantage in the global technology landscape. By creating opportunities for developers and entrepreneurs to build applications and services that cater to local languages, they are fostering a culture of innovation and creativity that can boost economic growth and job creation. This can also help to position Nigeria as a hub for AI development and research, attracting investment and talent to the country.

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