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Nigeria can achieve SDGs with AI – Expert

An Information and Communication Technology (ICT) expert, Oluwafemi Osho, says the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) can aid in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agenda of 2030 in Nigeria.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja, Osho said that AI dates back to 1950, with the Turing Test, or imitation game, by Alan Turing.

He explained that AI are computer systems capable of performing complex tasks that historically only a human could do, like thinking, decision-making, or problem solving.

The expert said that machines’ ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour comparable to that of humans had evolved over the years and had proven to ease work systems.

According to him, AI has evolved in complexity, capacity, and applications compared to the time of using systems that were symbolic and had rule-based reasoning.

“The proliferation of the Internet, the availability of large volumes of data, innovations in computing hardware, and the and the development of more advanced algorithmic techniques have further revolutionised AI across various domains.

“AI offers significant opportunities and benefits for Nigeria if adequately harnessed. AI can drive economic growth through industrial innovations, leading to job creation.

“AI technologies can be applied to enhance our healthcare services, improve agricultural productivity and food security, revolutionise our educational sector, and drive financial inclusion.

“In summary, there is so much AI that can contribute to Nigeria achieving the SDGs, of which we barely have seven years until the targeted time,’’ Osho said.

He blamed poor AI education, low internet penetration, and the lack of a comprehensive AI policy as the banes of AI growth.

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According to him, most people today often equate AI with Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (ChatGPT), an AI chatbot that uses natural language processing to create human-like conversational dialogue.

Osho said the potential of AI is beyond ChatGPT, adding that embracing AI requires education on its potential and risks.

“To embrace and adopt AI, Nigerians must be educated on its potential and risks. AI should be integrated into school curricula.

“There is also low Internet penetration that is limiting the capabilities of AI because the internet essentially serves as a core infrastructure for AI in today’s world.

“Low Internet penetration will lead to low awareness of AI; low awareness will stifle AI development in the country. So, the government must invest more in expanding access to the internet.

“Nigeria also needs a comprehensive AI policy. One of the first responsibilities of the Nigerian government in developing AI is to formulate an AI policy,’’ he said.

Osho added that a good AI policy would attract significant investments to the country.

NAN reports that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has a subsidiary, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR).

NCAIR has the mandate to promote research, development, and adoption of AI, robotics, and Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies for economic growth, improve quality of life, and promote global competitiveness. (NAN)

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