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Communication Minister, Dr Adebayo Shittu presents Government resolution on AI on the ocassion of World Telecoms and Information Society Day, Abuja.

Artificial Intelligence: Why Nigeria Must Implements ITU Mandate –FG

*Government says the country cannot risk being left behind in global AI ecosystem


Isaiah Onwuanumba:

Federal Government has announced that it is set to key into International Telecoms Union (ITU) Mandate on Artificial Intelligence (AI) ecosystem for sustainable development as the nation cannot risk being left behind in the next global Information Technology revolution.
In a document made available to our Correspondent, Minister of Communications, Dr Adebayo Shittu revealed this at a Conference to mark World Telecoms and Information Society Day on Thursday in Abuja, adding, government hopes to achieve this by supporting stakeholders in the Nigeria ICT ecosystem to create and strengthen AI related innovation in the country.

Government objectives, he said, reflects this year’s the theme which is: “Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for All” and focuses on the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The minister noted that “the ministry would also encourage cross-sector, cross-agency and cross-border collaboration, by developing unified standards for emerging AI sources and interoperability.”
Efforts would be to establish an AI driven decision making, service delivery and operational efficiency culture by developing national policies and strategies to promote AI, open data and Big data analytics as well as an unambiguous regulatory framework for enhancing data transparency and utility, he said.

The Secretary General of the ITU, Mr. Houlin Zhao called for a deliberate Action by member nations to ignite a global dedication to leveraging the insights provided by AI for new opportunities to address development challenges.

Artificial intelligence is no longer confined to labs, but can be seen in many instances in our lives. Example is individual monitoring live happening on a real time bases via smartphone.

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Our Correspondent gathered that World Telecommunication Day has been celebrated annually on 17 May since 1969, marking the date of the founding of International Telecommunication Union ITU and the signing of the first international Telegraph Convention in 1985. It was formally instituted by the Plenipotentiary Conference in Malaga-Torremolinos in 1973. In recognition of ITU as the lead United Nations Agencies for ICTs, the World Summit on information Society (WSIS) in Tunis, November 2005, called on the United Nations Assembly to proclaim 17 May as World Information Society Day.

According to Shittu, Nigeria, like other IT Members states must contribute towards building political momentum to embrace AI and leverage insights to identify new opportunities to creatively address sustainable development challenges.


“Government is committed to forward-looking policies to enable citizens, businesses, societies to prosper, improving lives and livelihoods, while mitigating the possible adverse effects that can accompany economic change. This we are sure will encourage investment and promote development of digital economies, while building an inclusive digital future for its citizens.”

Recalled, On 27th March 2006, the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 60/252, proclaiming 17 May as World Information Society Day to focus global attention annually on bringing the enormous benefits of the digital revolution in ICTs to the world’s inhabitants. The ITU Plenipotentiary Conference in November 2006 welcomed the General Assembly’s decision and amended Resolution 68 to invite the Council to adopt a specific theme for each World Telecommunication and Information Society Day.

“Government charge parents to allow their children and wards to take coding classes and buy them educational toys that can contribute to the spirit of invention and creativity in them. Don’t throw away those old or damaged appliances in your houses. Instead use them to enhance the creativity and ingenuity in the children.”
“Private sector should take the lead in the field of artificial intelligence, sponsoring of research activities in these areas should be likened to oil exploration. The field of artificial intelligence presents a crucial building block for furthering the human cause from its use in self-driving cars and medical diagnosis to strategic planning and game theory and optical character recognition. However, given the unprecedented technological unemployment it can bring to existing jobs and structures, organizations need to invest in agile infrastructure that can adapt to the growing use of the technology to balance the disequilibrium due to disruptions in the economy” Shittu said.

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We also learned that as the global community celebrate the 2018 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), It is also marking the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union.
The purpose of WTISD is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide.


In recent years there has been significant progress in AI technology, made possible by tremendous advances in contributing fields, such as Big Data, machine learning, computing power, storage capacity and cloud computing, among others. AI-based technologies are already emerging as a key component of proactive tools and applications being used to help people lead better lives by improving healthcare, education, finance, agriculture, transportation, and a wide range of other services.
The 2018 theme will allow ITU Membership and other key stakeholders to focus on the opportunities on how AI can help accelerate the achievement of the SDGs by 2030.

Market analysts predict that intelligent machines, programmed to think and reason like the human mind, will revolutionize health care in the very near future. In fact, proponents of the transformative power of artificial intelligence usually give two examples: self-driving cars and the delivery of health care.
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.
Artificial intelligence is a new frontier for the ICT and health sectors. As so often happens, the speed of technological advances has outpaced our ability to reflect these advances in sound public policies and address a number of ethical dilemmas.
Artificial intelligence can give data a structure, and by detecting patterns, guide some informed policy decisions. By reducing the likelihood of human errors, they can contribute to more precise diagnoses and predictions of patient prognoses, and to enhanced patient safety just to mention a few.

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