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Nigeria Urged to Embrace Artificial Intelligence for the 4th Industrial Revolution

In this post:

  • Embracing AI is crucial for Nigeria’s role in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, offering transformative potential in various sectors.
  • Nigeria must prioritize AI development, regulatory bodies, tariff reduction, and STEM education to catch up with global AI leaders.
  • Global cooperation is essential to address AI’s risks and establish safe and ethical usage guidelines.

Renowned scientist Professor Bart Nnaji, a former Minister of Science and a leading expert in Artificial Intelligence (AI), has called upon Nigerians to embrace AI on an industrial scale to position Nigeria as a key player in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Speaking at the fifth convocation ceremony of Michael and Cecilia Ibru University in Delta State, Professor Nnaji emphasized the importance of AI in driving this global revolution and outlined both the opportunities and challenges it presents.

The significance of AI in the 4th industrial revolution

Professor Nnaji underscored the significance of AI in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technologies such as Big Data and the Internet of Things (IoT). He highlighted that Nigeria missed the Agricultural, Industrial, and Digital Revolutions but could leapfrog into the Fourth Industrial Revolution without requiring massive resource investments. The affordability and accessibility of modern technology, including AI, have eliminated geographical barriers, allowing Nigerians to harness its potential from the comfort of their homes.

The role of AI in various sectors

AI’s applications extend across various sectors, from healthcare to mass communication, business management, education, legal advice, and creativity. Professor Nnaji credited much of the progress in these areas to the advancements in AI technology, citing the launch of ChatGPT4 by OpenAI as a significant development. ChatGPT4, a language model like the one you are currently reading, can generate content ranging from novels to legal opinions, demonstrating the transformative power of AI in various domains.

Call to action for the Nigerian government

Professor Nnaji called on the Nigerian government to take immediate and concrete steps to establish Nigeria as a significant participant in AI development. He identified the United States, the United Kingdom, China, South Korea, the European Union, and India as leaders in AI development and urged Nigeria to join this league. To achieve this, he proposed several key initiatives:

Elevating the ministry of communication and creativity: Professor Nnaji argued for recognizing the Ministry of Communication and Creativity as a frontline development ministry, emphasizing the importance of communication technologies and creativity in the digital age.

Priority status for regulatory bodies: He suggested that the Nigerian Communication Commission and the National Office for the Acquisition of Technology should receive priority status to facilitate AI adoption and regulation.

Tariff reduction and training: Professor Nnaji recommended reducing tariffs on specific information technology equipment or abolishing them altogether to make AI technology more accessible. He also stressed the need for intensive training of IT specialists in academic and professional institutions within Nigeria and abroad.

Emulating India’s STEM prioritization: Drawing inspiration from India’s focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), he urged Nigeria to prioritize these fields, leading to advancements in medical tourism, manufacturing, food security, and space exploration.

Challenges and risks associated with AI

While advocating for AI adoption, Professor Nnaji highlighted the potential dangers and risks associated with its use. These include job displacement, deep fake technology, and the misuse of AI for creating dangerous weapons. He cautioned against plagiarism, misinformation, disinformation, invasion of privacy, pornography, blackmail, extortion, and even the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe or a pandemic arising from AI misuse.

Global cooperation for safe AI

To mitigate these risks, Professor Nnaji called for global cooperation among governments, AI researchers, and developers to establish a body that promotes safe and ethical AI usage, drawing parallels with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s creation in 1957. He stressed that no government should be left behind in this endeavor, as rogue AI developers could operate in ungoverned spaces, potentially causing catastrophic consequences.

Professor Bart Nnaji’s call to embrace AI on an industrial scale serves as a timely reminder of the transformative potential of this technology in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Like other nations, Nigeria stands at a critical juncture where strategic decisions regarding AI adoption and regulation can shape its future. While reaping the benefits of AI, Nigeria and the global community need to address the associated challenges and ensure responsible and ethical AI usage, working together to build a safer and more innovative future.

Disclaimer. The information provided is not trading advice. Cryptopolitan.com holds no liability for any investments made based on the information provided on this page. We strongly recommend independent research and/or consultation with a qualified professional before making any investment decisions.

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