June 13, 2024

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said developing regulations and policies to govern artificial intelligence (AI) deployment is complex as well as playing catch up due to technological advancements in this part of the world.

NCC said although most legislative and governing bodies are looking to regulate this technology, there has been a continuous struggle to strike the right balance between risk mitigation and stifling innovation while promoting innovation and ensuring security and trust.

The NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Dr Aminu Maida, who disclosed this, said indeed the regulation of AI is very difficult for countries all over the world.

Maida, while marking the 2024 World Consumer Rights Day, said despite the usefulness of the technology, its usage also comes with legal and regulatory challenges, which need to be addressed.

The NCC EVC said getting it right with AI regulation would require the collaboration of all stakeholders, including academia and technology developers.

He described AI as a phenomenon that has captured the imagination of scientists, engineers, and thinkers for decades, saying it represents the culmination of human innovation and the quest to create machines that can mimic human intelligence and problem-solving capabilities.

According to him, since the emergence of 5G operators in Nigeria, including MTN, Mafab and Airtel, “there has been a steady growth in the development and deployment of AI systems and services and the Commission has been constantly ensuring that the growth is the right direction that guarantees value addition to consumer satisfaction and experience as well as ensuring economic growth.”

Maida said AI has already made significant inroads into peoples’ lives, stressing that from voice assistants that respond to commands to recommendation algorithms that suggest “what we should watch, read, or buy, AI is all around us. It’s driving innovation in healthcare, finance, transportation, and countless other fields.”

Maida, who was represented by the Executive Commissioner, Technical Services Designate at NCC, Abraham Oshadami, an engineer, emphasised the need for collaboration in the industry, stressing that all stakeholders would have to come together to share ideas on how best the technology should be regulated.

“In this era that has seen the rise of AI and IoT cybersecurity, it is important to break silos and foster collaboration of the Quadruple Helix Innovation model consisting of the Academia, the Industry, Government, and Society to share ideas. AI developers and Regulators have to ensure AI system algorithms consider ethics and inclusivity,” he stated.

The NCC boss noted that the rapid advancement of AI is reshaping industries and transforming the way people live and work, but also observed that the technology brings forth a complex web of legal and regulatory challenges as it becomes increasingly integrated into various aspects of society.

“Navigating this uncharted territory requires a careful examination of existing laws, the development of new regulations, and ethical considerations to ensure that AI benefits society without compromising fundamental rights and values,” he added.

Speaking on this year’s theme of World Consumer Rights Day, ‘Fair and Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Consumer’ Maida said using AI responsibly is crucial to guarantee consumer trust and circumvent possible problems.   According to him, responsible AI means using it ethically throughout its development, deployment, and usage. This includes considering issues like bias, privacy, transparency, and accountability.


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