BrandArena: FG Launches Nigeria's First Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Monday 16 November 2020

FG Launches Nigeria's First Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

Dr Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy has inaugurated the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics. The centre seeks to position the country for the Fourth Industrial Revolution that dwells on emerging technologies.

The minister said at the inauguration that the establishment of the centre was in line with the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) of the Federal Government.

Pantami said also that emerging technologies included Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Robotics, Cyber security, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, Block chain, Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing, among others.

“Artificial Intelligence is the refinery of the digital economy and Robotics is very useful in supporting companies as they carry out repetitive tasks.

“These are two very important emerging technologies that will shape the face of future technologies and we have decided to be proactive to enable us to play a key role in how these technologies evolve.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution, fuelled by Big Data, propelled by robust computing capacity, advanced software and Artificial Intelligence is ushering new ways of living, well-being, learning, travelling and working.

“Its innovative use-cases are quickly changing lives for the better and creating new types of jobs,’’ Pantami said.

Pantami said, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Artificial Intelligence would have huge impact on healthcare, automotive, financial services, retail and consumer, technology, communications and entertainment, manufacturing, energy, transport and logistics.

According to him, all these translate into a significant global economic impact as cited by several sources and Nigeria must not be left out, hence, the call for immediate action.

“It is predicted that by 2025, Artificial Intelligence will be a 190-billion-dollars business as 83 per cent of companies are also reported to state that it is their strategic priority for the future.

“Artificial Intelligence has a significant impact in all sectors and has played a very important role in the fight against COVID-19.

“There are 12 million robotic units worldwide in 2020 and this is expected to increase by 12 per cent by 2022,’’ he said.

He said it was equipped with a digital innovation laboratory, Maker Space and Fabrication laboratory, Printed Circuit Board Facilities, 3-D Printer, Co-working space for ICT start-ups and training facilities.

He added that the centre would house the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (MIT-REAP) office set to translate research insights into practical frameworks.

The U.S.A.-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology is a cutting edge institute globally renowned for science and technology feats.

At the inauguration, the Director-General of NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, explained Artificial Intelligence as the ability of machines to mimic human thinking and behaviour, which could be applied to the project of developing systems with human characteristics.

He also said that robotics was the engineering discipline that dealt with the design, construction, and operation of robots, which complements human labour.

“This project is one among many of our developmental programmes in accordance with NITDA’s core mandate of facilitating the growth of Information Communication Technology development in Nigeria.

“We are focused on providing support for viable innovations with socio-economic impact as well as a level playing field for all Nigerians to thrive in.

“As we enter the age of advanced technological breakthroughs such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Nigeria cannot be left out in harnessing the advantages of AI, robotics and other emerging technologies,’’ he said.

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