DSN Launches First AI Book For Primary and Secondary Schools, To Deepen Technology In Nigeria

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019 / 6:00 PM / Nifemi Taiyese for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV


Data Science Nigeria as part of its commitment to developing science and technology in the country launched the first Artificial Intelligence Book for Nigerian Primary and Secondary Schools in Lagos.

The launch was part of the activities to mark its 2019 summit focused on the theme "How Artificial Intelligence Drives Socio-Economic Development."

The Convener of the summit Mr. Olubayo Adekanmbi and Chief Transformation Officer of MTN Nigeria in his welcome speech emphasized the need for decision-makers to understand the value of Artificial Intelligence in their respective organizations.

He informed stakeholders that the 2019 DSN boot camp with tech-savvy young Nigerians would have 26 international experts as facilitators, to build their capacity and broaden their knowledge in the innovation space.

According to him, Artificial Intelligence is a catalyst for growth as it creates new frontiers for innovation and technology that can transform economies.

He believed that the AI book launched for primary and secondary schools offers a combination of industry knowledge and academic theory.

Adekanmbi speaking further said that the proper adoption of Artificial Intelligence could build real solutions to addressing socio-economic challenges across the globe.

Adekanmbi noted that the book launch was part of his vision that by 2025, every Nigerian child under the age of ten years should have an in-depth understanding of Artificial Intelligence.

He was optimistic that the deepening of data science studies would help to raise brilliant minds that would mark Nigeria as one of the AI destinations of the world.

The Keynote address was delivered by Prof. (Emeritus) Thomas G. Dietterich of the Oregon State University, United States of America and had as its major focus themes;

  • Collecting Better Data for Better Decisions

  • Compensating for lack of experts

  • Allocating scarce resources


Professor Dietterich identified the following as sectors that can benefit from Artificial Intelligence;


  • AI for law enforcement at Airports and Borders

  • AI for protecting wildlife

  • AI could be used to reduce the cost of government census-taking

  • AI and machine learning could also be used to compensate for the lack of experts in various fields.

Speaking on the challenges of AI, Dietterich said one of the issues prevalent in the field is that the probability of people using AI is dependent on the information and awareness they have about it, which is why knowledge is important.  He also emphasized the importance of data gathering in the process.

He called for more projects that enable AI to tackle socio-economic challenges in places like Nigeria.

The event featured a panel discussion on how AI drives socio-economic development with Kathleen Siminyu as moderator and Dr. Eric Sodomka, Research Scientist- Facebook Research, Victor Ohuruogu, Program Manager-UNESCO Data for Development, Ayodeji BalogunChief Technology Officer Terragon Group, Tomi Amao Chief Technology Officer at Softcom Nigeria and Dr. Steven G. Odaibo CEO Retina AI, USA, as panelists.

Ms. Kathleen Siminyu said the age of Artificial Intelligence had seen advancements for the following reasons;

  • Advances in Communication Infrastructure

  • Advances in Computational power

  • The emergence of big data

She was of the view that AI presents the developing nations with tools to close the gap with their more advanced economic counterparts and provide a chance of addressing issues in healthcare, agriculture, education, power etc.

Mr. Temitope Amao speaking on the position of data in financial inclusion, highlighted the big divide between the banked and unbanked.  He believed technology could be used to carry out financial transactions at scale while leveraging mobile phones.

Amao said that through technology systems can be automated, and made to provide seamless services that can reach unbanked people.

Mr. Victor Ohuruogu of UNESCO in his remarks said data availability and access are inter-connected. Speaking further on the challenges of acquiring data, he identified them as;

  • Access to data is a huge challenge to a lot of sectors.

  • Financial costs in getting access to data in African countries.

  • Lack of trust between data owners and data holders

  • Issue of quality of data.


He also advocated for a framework that guides how data is used globally.

Mr. Ayodeji Balogun of Terragon Group, in his contribution said Artificial Intelligence would help to drive growth, optimize customer engagement and help in the growth of businesses.

On his part Dr. Eric Sodomka a Research Scientist with Facebook Inc, speaking on AI and social awareness, believed it could be used to make social networks better and help identify and connect those who have interest in them. Investing in AI resources can help to identify flagged messages on several platforms. 

Dr. Steven Odaibo giving further insight into artificial intelligence and healthcare, believed that gathering accurate data can be used to work on medical projects, which will help to tackle the challenges of healthcare access and quality.

Artificial Intelligence, according to Dr. Odaibo can be used to detect medical problems early to aid quick interventions. 


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