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Adebayo Shittu FG to create national artificial intelligence ecosystem – Minister

The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, said this at a press conference on Thursday, in Abuja.

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Dr Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria's Minister of Communications at the launching of TECNO Camon X and other product in Lagos

(LinkedIn/Adebayo Shittu)

The Federal Ministry of Communications has restated its commitment to support stakeholders in the ICT to create and strengthen a national Artificial Intelligence (AI) ecosystem to achieve sustainable development.

The Minister of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, said this at a press conference on Thursday, in Abuja.

The event was to mark the 2018 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day, with the theme: “Enabling the Positive Use of Artificial Intelligence for All’’.

Shittu said that the ministry was committed to focus on the potential of the AI to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030, and improve the nation’s economy.

He said that, “AI is taking centre stage with a lot of impact on peoples’ lives as its potential power is being exploited and developed at an unprecedented speed.

“With many nations, including Nigeria bank on technology, robotics and artificial intelligence to reshape humanity, we need to encourage our youth and people to be digital literate and become multi-discipline in ICTs.

“Also market analysts predict that intelligent machines programmed to think and reason like the human mind will revolutionise healthcare in the very near future.

“Proponents of the transformative power of artificial intelligence usually give two examples: self-driving cars and the delivery of healthcare.”

The minister emphasised that AI was no longer confined to the laboratories, but could be seen in many instances of human activities.

We are accustomed to seeing countless references to intelligent machines and robots in popular culture whether it is in movies, fiction or books.

“But apart from computers and smartphone technology, nothing is more worthy of praise than our commitment to replicate human behaviours and thought pattern into machine and that is the world of artificial intelligence.

“As governments increasingly rely on the internet for governance and delivery of social benefits, technology simultaneously holds the promise of transformation and potential for exclusion.’’

He said that the ministry would engage in crucial conversations with stakeholders to manage and explore the AI regime.

According to him, Nigeria will seek to bring industry leaders and academic experts to the forefront by identifying priorities and share lessons for sustainable growth.

“We shall consider and explore pillars like connectivity, digital inclusion, trade, security, innovation and policy.

“We will also examine challenges and prospects of AI to foster greater interoperability and security.

“Since government is leveraging the internet for delivery of social services, all lesson must be internalised to make this initiative more inclusive,’’ the minister said.

NAN reports that ITU Secretary-General, Houlin Zhao in his message to mark ‘s day said every year on May 17, ITU members around the world celebrate World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is taking center stage with a lot of impact on people’s lives.

“AI’s potential power is being exploited and developed at an unprecedented speed. AI brings us many opportunities and challenges. AI will greatly change our economy and society,’’ he said.

According to Zhao, ITU in its role of specialised UN Agency for ICT services and technologies, wishes to work with academia, researchers, industries, administrations and governments, UN Agencies.

Zhao said the union would also work  with other stakeholders and partners  to facilitate the AI development, to bring the benefits of AI to all.

“ITU invites you to join us to celebrate WTISD 2018!’’, he said.

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