Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami has on Friday inaugurated the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics which was established by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
The Minister who launched the centre also said that the hub for emerging technologies seeks to position the country for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, in line with the eight pillars of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, NDEPS.
The centre which is Nigeria’s first public sector technology hub for features Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, Robotics, Cybersecurity, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality, Block chain, Big Data Analytics and Cloud Computing, among others.
Speaking during the event in Abuja, Dr Pantami explained that Artificial Intelligence is the refinery of the Digital Economy and that Robotics is very useful in supporting companies in carrying out their 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.
The Minister further pointed that the vision of the centre is reflected in the third, fifth and eighth pillars of the digital economy policy, which focuses on solid infrastructure, digital services development and promotion, indigenous content development and adoption respectively.
“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 went on to disagree that the use of robotics could lead to loss of jobs saying that reports showed that deploying robotics led to the employment of about 150,000 people globally in engineering and assembly jobs.
Also speaking, the Director-General of NITDA, Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said: “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.
Other dignitaries in attendance were the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Mr Musa Bello, Minister for State, Science and Technology, Mr Mohammed Abdullahi and other Directors under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.