Director General of Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Mr Kashifu Inuwa, has urged the global tech community to devise measures to ensure that Artificial Intelligence, AI, systems are built in accordance with policies, regulations, and laws.
He stated that it is critical to involve members of the community in the development of AI systems.
Inuwa made the call while participating in a plenary session at the Global Artificial Intelligence, AI, Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with the theme “Catalyzing AI Communities and Solutions: Sharing Cases Across the EU, Latin America, Asia, and Africa.”
Inuwa emphasised that the government needs to ensure that there are Ethics, Codes, and Standard for anybody designing any system that would make decisions on behalf of the government or that will make decisions that the community must follow.
He further stated that “the way it is today, we obey most of the rules of these technologies than the rules of our country. Before you use any system or access any place controlled by the technology, you have to agree to follow the rules of the technology.”
He said; “We need to stop looking at technology from either consumer’s perspective in terms of where he buys and costs or a capitalist’s in terms of how to exploit or build products around it. We need to start looking at it from the citizen’s eyes, how it changes the way we live together, and how it can be used for the public good. This can only be achieved through policies, regulations, and laws, which we believe have to be co-created.
“We are not encouraging the government to use armchair theory to come up with laws or regulations. But we are saying that the government should co-create it with the ecosystem because the technology is new and evolving. You cannot regulate what you don’t know. Regulation is synonymous with putting a traffic light in a traffic place, and you need to understand the traffic patterns before putting the traffic light.”
Inuwa added that Nigeria developed a Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/Internet Intermediaries to make the digital world safer for everyone, including kids.
The NITDA Boss further emphasised the necessity of preventing anyone from holding or using unaccountable power.
He said; “the government is saying to the big tech companies/platforms, we want you to be accountable and enhance competition.
“Most of the laws and regulations around the world are talking about anti-competition and anti-trust laws, the need for increased accountability, or safeguarding privacy.
“This is because big tech companies, in what is referred to as surveillance capitalism, take a lot of data and information about their users to improve products and services. This behavioural surplus data is used to manipulate and control people without their knowledge through what is called instrumentation power.”
Inuwa said; “The government wants these companies to be accountable, more open, and transparent in what they do without dominating the market.”
He said that” due to the domination factor that plays out in the tech space, some big techs always try to acquire anyone doing something in their niche. So, to avoid that, we need a level playing field where we can allow local start-ups to grow.”
Furthermore, the NITDA DG stated that “the government is looking at technology beyond just a tool but as something that can be used for governance transformation.
According to Inuwa, “the government is looking at technology beyond just a tool but as something that can be leveraged for governance transformation.
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