Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
The Federal Government on Thursday said that the country was set to leverage on the potential in Information and Communications Technology to advance its economy, agriculture and improved health care.
According to the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, Nigeria is also prepared to join the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Telecommunication and Information Society Day in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Shittu said the essence of the celebration was to raise awareness of the potential of ICT to advance economies and bridge the digital divide in the country.
He stated that analysts had predicted that intelligent machines programmed to think and reason like the human mind would revolutionise health care in the very near future.
The minister said, “The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other Information and Communications Technologies can bring to societies and economies, as well as ways to bridge the digital divide.
“Artificial Intelligence-based technologies are already emerging as a key component of proactive tools and applications being used to help people lead better lives by improving health care, education, finance, agriculture, transportation and a wide range of other services.”
Shittu noted that this year’s celebration, which has the theme, ‘Enabling the positive use of Artificial Intelligence for all’, would focus on the potential of artificial intelligence to accelerate the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
He said, “Artificial intelligence or AI is taking centre stage with a lot of 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.
“Government, through the Ministry of Communications, is poised to support stakeholders in Nigeria’s ICT ecosystem to create and strengthen a national AI ecosystem for sustainable development.”
He added, “Government will include Artificial Intelligence and coding in our educational agenda. With this, our youths will be put on the right path as ICT and AI would have deeply affected the ways we labour and relate with one another in the fourth industrial era.
“The cars, satellites, computers, planes and phones of today were built by the children of yesterday; those of tomorrow will be built by children of today.”
Shittu noted that this year’s celebration would be held next week at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State.
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