Nigerian Government Commits to Innovation and Responsible Use of AI — Kalu

by MMC
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Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu has highlighted the Federal Government’s commitment to the responsible use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve the economy.

He, however, warned that the government would not tolerate any form of abuse that could harm national security.

Kalu made this revelation during a courtesy visit by a delegation from Meta Platforms Inc. (formerly Facebook) led by the Vice President (Africa, Middle East and Turkey), Mr. Kojo Boakye, and the Director for West Africa, Ms. Adaora Ikenze, Tuesday.

Meta is an American multinational technology conglomerate that owns and operates Facebook, Instagram, Threads and WhatsApp, among other products and services.

The Vice President, while assessing Meta’s contributions to Nigeria’s digital economy, highlighted the company’s significant investments in Nigeria, particularly in the area of ​​fiber optic cables, mobile partnerships and support to business capabilities of entrepreneurs and SMEs, highlighting that the news of Africa’s 45,000 km submarine cable landing in Lagos and Akwa Ibom states is particularly interesting, given its socio-economic impact potential in the country.

He said: “I heard you mention things about AI. You are interested in AI when you talk about the different areas that META is involved in beyond Facebook and IG. Then I saw that you are interested in AI and I am happy that the government of President Bola Tinubu has chosen technology as one of the areas that will help this administration move towards achieving the national goals it was fixed.

“So we understand the relevance of AI, of artificial intelligence. And we also appreciate your interest in our national artificial intelligence strategy. As a government, we are committed to fostering innovation and the responsible use of AI and emphasizing the responsible use of AI.

“It could also be abused. We appreciate the industry’s contribution. We value collaborations. And we look forward to collaborating with stakeholders like you to ensure that our own AI strategy fully aligns with global best practices and serves the interests of technology companies and the public, especially our own citizens. And what they tend to achieve is not all AI would be healthy for our economy, but there are many when adopted and adapted to our unique needs that will contribute to our national development and for these will be extended to embrace them.

Speaking about the proposed digital rights bills, Kalu sought Meta’s collaboration in protecting digital rights.

“In our mind, we are intentional about content moderation and digital rights bills. Regarding the proposed bills on content, moderation and digital rights, we understand the importance of balance and a fair regulatory framework. I want to emphasize this again.

“And I also want to say that our legislative process is open to constructive dialogue, accept the one we are discussing and others that we will also present. And we appreciate your ideas and recommendations during this engagement, it will not just be a presentation it will not be a working document to enable us to propose another amendment to our law or to repeal it.

“And then reconstitutions of our laws, we will take your opinion seriously. I am sure that if you participate, if you accept our partnership to engage more, together we can work on a bill that will guarantee the protection of digital rights.

Kalu also hinted that by January next year, his office would organize a sectoral policy dialogue in conjunction with advocacy for the Center for Civic Engagement focused on information technology and innovation.

While seeking Meta’s support, the Vice President added that the regulatory laws passed by the Advertising Regulatory Council of Nigeria (ARCON, 2022) Act are not aimed at punishing anyone but at cleaning up the space to avoid abuse.

Previously, the head of the delegation, Mr.
Boakye informed the Vice President of his plans to launch some digital expansion in Africa, saying it would benefit Nigeria as a country.

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