By Stanley Iwuoha
The Minister of Communications and Digital Econom, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami says the new Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics recently commissioned in FCT, Abuja will serve as a hub for innovation, research and development.
He also explained that the Centre is also expected to serve as knowledge transfer, and training hub in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and other emerging technologies.
Federal Government has commissioned National Centre for Artificial Intelligence(AI) and Robotics to boost economic diversification.
The centre was designed to engage the youths in skillful and productive ventures and also create more jobs and inspire the digital natives.
Recall that the Federal government had Commissioned the AI and Robotics Centre located at Wuye, Abuja,
Also speaking further on the importance of artificial intelligence in a digital economy, the minister said, “Artificial Intelligence is the refinery of the digital economy and Robotics is very useful in supporting companies as they carry out repetitive tasks.”
“The National Centre for AI and Robotics (NCAIR) “will serve as a leading hub of innovation, research and development, knowledge transfer, and training in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics and other emerging technologies.
“Our adoption of regulatory sandbox frameworks for testing technology in a controlled environment will enable the Centre accelerate the progress we are making in the development of our digital economy.
“This Centre will serve the following purpose namely create a vision for AI in the country,
identify AI-driven use-cases; support data stewardship; develop an AI ecosystem and
provide access to specialised technical skills for AI and Robotics, cultivate a network of influential supporters and champions across the country.
“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 play a key role in how these technologies evolve.
“We are confident that this Centre will engage our youth, support in the diversification of the economy, create more jobs and inspire our digital entrepreneurs,” Pantami said.
He noted that artificial intelligence and robotics would usher in Fourth Industrial Revolution in the globe, adding that Nigeria must strive not to be left behind in the technological advancement.
“The Fourth Industrial Revolution, fueled by Big Data, propelled by robust computing capacity, advanced software and Artificial Intelligence (AI) 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.
“According to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), AI will have a huge impact on the following industries: Healthcare, Automotive, Financial Services, Retail and Consumer, Technology, Communications and Entertainment, Manufacturing, Energy, Transport and Logistics.
“These all 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 the year 2025, AI will be a $190 billion business.
“83% of companies are also reported to state that AI is their strategic priority for the future.
“1,543 AI startups raised $10billion in funding in 2017.
“AI 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% by 2022.
“The narrative about robotics tends to scare people into thinking that it will lead to loss of jobs.
“However, recent reports show that Robotics has already led to the employment of about 150,000 people globally in engineering and assembly jobs.
For the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency(NITDA), Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Centre was built by the Agency to foster the development of emerging technologies in preparing Nigeria for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and strategy.
He said the project was one among many of the developmental programmes in accordance with NITDA’s core mandate of facilitating the growth of Information Technology (IT) development in Nigeria.