By Maureen Okon
Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami says exploiting emerging technology remains top on the Federal Governments’ agenda for developing a digital economy.
Pantami said this on Friday via a webinar on Artificial Intelligence organised by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The teleconference had the theme: “Moving Ahead, The Future is Artificial intelligence (AI).”
The minister, who was the guest speaker during the event, said that UAE had been proactive in digital transformation.
According to him, UAE is the only country with a minister for artificial intelligence, which is a branch of emerging technology.
“In Nigeria, we are also on track when it comes to emerging technology, particularly AI.
“We started the journey officially in October 2019, when President Muhammadu Buhari expanded the scope of the ministry that I supervised.
“We were mandated to immediately develop a National Digital Economy Policy for a digital Nigeria from 2020 to 2030 which we have already done.
“And it has been launched. It was unveiled by the president on Nov. 28, 2019, in Abuja.
“The policy we developed has eight pillars, which are: Developmental Regulations, Digital Keys, Solid Infrastructure, Service Infrastructure, Digital Services, Soft Infrastructure, Digital Society and Emerging technology, and Indigenous Content Developmental and Promotion.
“Top on the priorities are artificial intelligence, Robotics, 5G, Quantum Computing, and Cloud Computing.
“These are our priority areas when it comes to emerging technology,” he said.
Earlier, Dr Fahad Al Taffaq, UAE Ambassador to Nigeria said “our age is defined by increasing breakthroughs in novel technologies such as Artificial Intelligence.”
He added that in order to keep up with the times, the questions should be how do humans learn and get enlightened by Artificial Intelligence to broaden one’s perspective in boosting productivity in various ways?
“The answer to these questions remains in the hands of our scientists and collaborators in all disciplines.
“We are truly in exciting times witnessing that Artificial Intelligence is a part of our healthcare, education, manufacturing, and defense.
“However, with all the advancements being made by Artificial Intelligence, it’s important to not only make Artificial Intelligence credible but also safe and responsible.
“Prior to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, new technologies were already making many jobs, business models, and other older technologies obsolete.
“But the fact is, a new paradigm is emerging, COVID-19 has accelerated digitalisation in our communities and within the business environment, ” he said.
The Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, UAE, Omar Al Olama, said it was heartwarming to be part of a collaboration with Nigeria .
According to him, the health and socio-economic crises caused by COVID-19 have made the world to be appreciative of technological advancement and of the need to continue to develop both human lives and processes.
“Within a matter of weeks many countries globally moved from working in office spaces to working virtually and we have seen three years’ advancement take place in three months.
“And this advancement has created the need for us to create quantum collaboration ensuring no one is left behind.
“The effects of COVID-19 will not only be felt now but as we go along.
“The UAE implementation of Artificial Intelligence and robotics, has made us move quickly to adjust to the new normal in combating the pandemic with a minimum of loss,” he said. (NAN)