Data Science Nigeria (DSN), an NGO, on Wednesday unveiled the first Artificial Intelligence (AI) book for primary and secondary schools as part of its plan to raise one million AI experts.
The unveiling which was done at a Summit in Lagos was to promote knowledge in AI and related fields for socio-economic development of Nigeria.
In computer science, Artificial Intelligence, sometime called Machine Intelligence, is intelligence demonstrated by machines, in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans.
The Convener, DSN, Dr Olubayo Adekanmbi. said that as a nation of 200 million people, with median age at 18 years, it was important to prepare the young people for the future by exposing them to the right skills.
Adekambi said that especially when it was known that most of the jobs today would go into extinction in the next five to 10 years.
According to him, the question was what becomes of the country with so much young people who were lacking in the right skills for the ‘future jobs?
”That informed the whole idea of Data Science Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Skill Building. It has become a mandate.
”We have taken up the responsibility to say that children in this country have access to the same knowledge that students in San Francisco, Paris and London have by creating a book that will be distributed free.
”We are not going through the traditional model ‘I buy for my child’ rather ‘you buy for a community or the whole school’.
“The approach is: “make knowledge in a simplified manner,’’ he said.
Adekanmbi said that it was also to build a system that would pass on knowledge and that informed working with various state governments to run a lot of ‘train-the-trainer’ programmes to equip the teachers.
He said that DSN was going to train the teachers in batches on AI as well as giving them a few copies of the book so as to pass on to the children till every part of the country is reached.
The convener said that government could be a part of the process to raise one million inspired young people to change the country’s narrative and make Nigeria the AI destination in future.
He called for integrating AI as part of the national curriculum which would generate more attention by the students toward learning the discipline.
He, however, urged government to support the effective production of the book which was being given out free so that every Nigerian child would be exposed to the possibilities of AI.
”Let them build the right skills and let’s get our nation ready for the opportunities that AI presents; shaping opportunity creation, innovation, invention research, and transformational possibilities,’’ Adekanmbi said.
Also at the Summit, in a keynote presentation titled, ‘Artificial Intelligence for Development’, Prof. Thomas Dietterich, described AI as a catalyst for economic advancement.
Dietterich, Director of Intelligent Systems Research, Oregon State University, said that AI presented opportunities for economic transformation in unique ways.
According to him, although, the developing economies still lack in some areas with regards to AI adoption and applications.
“However, organisations such as DSN had shown clear roadmap capable of putting the country on the right footings and build the national competitiveness, given the right skills, ’’ Dietterich said.
He noted that developing AI enabled weather management solutions that would assist the continent address some challenges faced by farmers, thereby leading to improved food production and sufficiency.
The don said that with the growing community of AI enthusiasts and learners, Nigeria and indeed Africa would witness a major boost in skills needed for research and development.
He said the skills would focus on bringing applied Artificial Intelligence solutions to existing community problems.
While applauding the First AI book for Primary and Junior Secondary School students in Nigeria, Dietterich urged experts and stakeholders to rave-up DSN’s mission of delivering positive impact to the society using Artificial Intelligence.
NAN reports that the highlights of the event were the unveiling of the book as well as the impromptu debate on Artificial Intelligence by students.
The debate was won by Julliard Academy, 422 points; second position was Chrisland School, 412 points; and the third was Atlantic Hall, 399 points.
Edited by Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)
Robogarden set to empower education stakeholders on coding technology
A digitised educational platform, Robogarden, has urged the Federal Government to imbibe personalised learning on coding, robotics, artificial intelligence and skills in the Nigeria’s educational system.
Its President, Dr Mohamed Elhabiby, made the plea at a webinar on Tuesday, in Lagos, saying this would ensure future of the new economy was dependent on successful and sustainable digital transformation processes.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the webinar focussed on Personalised Learning, AI and Education Technology, Digital Transformation Skills, Challenges, Today and in the Future.
Its theme was: “Rights and Voices of Youth: Teach Coding for the Youth.”
Elhabiby said there was the need to prepare children from an early age for the new reality of professions and mastery of digital technology to address shortage of skill and enhance competitiveness in the future of jobs.
He said that Robogarden was created to engage and provide code execution support for persons of different races and culture, irrespective of language.
The founder of the garden also urged the government to stimulate plans to provide tools to enable individuals, communities and companies to become active innovators.
“The job market was already undergoing profound digital transformation, and so required professionals with an increasing knowledge of technology.
“Such qualifications would result in better income distribution, reduction of social inequality, unemployment and crime rates.
“Skills for the future in 2030 include: digital literacy and computational thinking, creative and innovative thinking, and cognitive flexibility.
“We are highly relying on technology and skills should be matching to them.
“It is important to be digitally literate to the emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, internet of things and data science.
“Today’s job vacancies may not be the same as tomorrow, and that is why humans should be able to adapt to the changes happening around them in the digital space.
“Currently, every country has issues with shortage of skills and high unemployment rates globally.
“Skills plus education is the new future, while the new literacy is coding,” he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Ngozi Ogoke, Chief Executive Officer, Ovana E-learning Limited, said her organisation, in collaboration with Robogarden, focussed on bringing transformation to the Nigerian digital economy and Africa as a whole.
According to her, the webinar serves to offer scholastically unique technology driven solutions that would lead to critical thinking and achievement of excellence in higher learning outcomes.
“We aim to create bright new opportunities for individuals and the entire community as we are in a new world of technology and
digitalisation,” Ogoke said.
Responding, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, said the country had opened its doors to technological training with regards to robotics.
Adamu, represented by Mrs Muna Onuzo-Iyanam, Special Adviser, Technical Planning, Research and Development, Ministry of Education, said he was committed to upscaling training of teachers and students toward achieving digital transformation in the education space.
“Our schools will become more compliant at introducing AI, robotics, coding and technological learning to prepare our children for the future and advance the future of jobs,” he said.
Also at the webinar, Dr Sally Adukwu-Bolujoko, the President, National Association of Proprietors of Private School, pledged her support and commitment to ensuring public schools’ participation in technological personalised learning.
Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
NCS conference showcasing emerging applications, technology in achieving 4IR for sustainable development
The Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), said that the annual International conference would showcase emerging applications and technologies to achieving fourth industrial revolution (4IR) that would lead to Sustainable Development.
The President, NCS Prof. Adesina Sodiya said at a virtual news briefing via Zoom that this year’s theme ‘Emerging Application and Technology for Industry 4.0 (EATI 2020) would provide technological support for modern industries.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that this year’s conference initially scheduled to be held at Akwa Ibom would be held virtually from Aug. 11 until Aug. 13.
Sodiya said that the theme of the conference was carefully and scientifically chosen in order to provide the needed technological supports for industries in this modern society.
He said that Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial revolution was simply about smart manufacturing that would create jobs and wealth in the country.
According to him, the technological components of industry 4.0 are full process and production line automation, intelligent control of cyber-physical systems, and adoption of Internet of things (IoT).
Other components are: robotics, big data analytics, cloud computing, and machine learning.
“As a nation, our industries must leverage on these technologies for enhanced profitability and economic well-being.
“The conference will focus on important issues related to the theme and sub themes such as Innovative Strategies for addressing cyber security and privacy challenges in industry 4.0.
“Others are a New Generation of Cyber Physical Systems in the Era of artificial intelligence (AI), Identity and Population management strategies for stimulating digital Economy, Youth Innovation and Sustainable Productivity among other,’’ he said.
Sodiya said that this year’s international conference would provide a multi-stakeholder forum to strategise creative approaches and practical solutions.
According to him, interestingly, this is the first time NCS will be holding virtual conference in the history of the society.
He said that the challenge posed by COVID-19 reaffirmed the need for Information Technology professionals to change their strategies.
Sodiya said that the expected speakers at the conference would be Minister of Communication and Digital Economy and Minister of Youth and Sports, among others.
The president, however, encouraged and gave reasons members should participate at the conference because it would add value and knowledge as well as the convenience of participating virtually.
Edited By: Donald Ugwu (NAN)
Israel tests AI wastewater-based system to detect COVID-19 outbreaks
Israel has successfully conducted an artificial intelligence (AI) pilot project to locate coronavirus outbreaks by testing sewer water, the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Israel Hayom reported on Friday.
According to the report, the project was carried out in the southern city of Ashkelon, by Kando, an Israeli company of smart wastewater management solutions, along with the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion) and Ben Gurion University.
The researchers used Kando’s technology, which can identify the outbreaks’ location and intensity, providing the data needed to develop and deploy effective responses.
This technology includes an array of sensors, along with advanced algorithms, AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced data modeling methods.
Thus, after placing the sensors in sewage pits throughout Ashkelon, the researchers were able to locate remnants of the coronavirus.
The results indicated an ability to identify early outbreaks at neighborhoods and even at specific streets, by detecting high concentrations of the virus.
Kando CEO Ari Goldfarb told the newspaper that “monitoring sewage water is like conducting a blood test for a whole city.”
50 entrepreneurs stand out in Jack Ma Foundation’s competition for African “business heroes”
Top 50 finalists have emerged in a Jack Ma Foundation competition that seeks to support African entrepreneurs.
This year’s “Africa’s Business Heroes” prize competition, organized by Jack Ma Foundation’s flagship philanthropic program in Africa, Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative, is the second edition after its 2019 debut.
The competition aims to identify, support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are making a difference in their local communities, working to solve the most pressing problems and building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future, according to organizers.
Over a 10-year period, the Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative plans to recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and commit to allocating 100 million United States dollars in grant funding and training programs for the broad African entrepreneurial ecosystem.
The top 10 finalists in the competition will share a prize pool of 1.5 million dollars this year and gain access to the initiative’s community of business leaders to leverage its shared expertise, best practice, training and resources.
“With this prize competition, we are looking to inspire and reward African business heroes in all sectors and encourage any aspiring applicants to seize this opportunity to break through barriers and create hope for the future,” said Jason Pau, senior adviser for international programs at Jack Ma Foundation.
Over 22,000 registrations from 54 African countries were received since the launch of the competition on April 6 until the close of the application on June 22, according to the foundation.
The applicants, from a wide range of sectors, are aged between 19 and 82, and the average age of the top 50 finalists is 37, it said.
The 50 entrepreneurs emerging in the first round represent 21 countries across Africa, such as Ghana, Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa and Kenya, and are from 18 sectors including agriculture, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, business services, construction, education, with female contestants making up the half, the foundation said.
The finalists have introduced “unique” projects in line with the situation of the continent. For example, Abid Khirani from Morocco developed a road safety device attached to the helmet, which is able to notify motorcycle riders of road-related dangers, provide location services, and trigger the emergency procedure and alert family members in case of an accident.
According to the schedule, the top 20 finalists, who will be determined by established business leaders through video-call interviews, will be announced in early August, followed by semi-final pitches in mid-August that will determine the top 10 competitors.
The top 10 are expected to be announced in September after they are selected through in-person pitches with a distinguished and experienced panel of investors, business leaders and professionals, the foundation said.
A final pitch competition show is scheduled to be held at the end of November, when the top 10 finalists will take the stage to pitch business legends, including Jack Ma, to win the share of the prize pool.
Jack Ma created the prize after he made his first trip to Africa in 2017, inspired by the energy and entrepreneurial potential of the young people he met with.
The Jack Ma Foundation, founded in 2014, has been focusing on education, entrepreneurship, women’s leadership, and the environment.