Government, business, and civil society organisations work during a period when technology is driving the interdependence that characterise the quest for change. Computers, mobile connectivity, applications, and the internet are shaping the way organisations address their vision and mission in ways that brings out solutions and opportunities for growth. Internet and digital technologies are rapidly transforming the way organisations deliver change across Nigerian communities. Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and big data will change the way different sectors of the economy carry out their business. AI can cover anything from voice assistants (SIRI on your iPhone, Google Assistant on Android phones), self-driving cars to Google’s search engine, Uber’s driver matching and ride share, Facebook’s face recognition in pictures to Skype’s real time translation tools, drone delivering blood and essential medications to remote communities, auto systems used on commercial flights and autonomous weapons–artificial intelligence systems that are programmed to kill. AI offer unprecedented opportunities for national development and growth with the potential to generate social, environmental, and economic benefits for people and planet.
While the benefits of AI are enormous, it poses clear-cut challenges for human well-being and order, portends danger for our security, safety, and privacy. Since AI are designed to operate with varying levels of autonomy, there are concerns that AI may become a risk as experts think two scenarios are possible: AI is programmed to do something devastating or AI is programmed to do something beneficial, but it develops a destructive method for achieving its goal. The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic in recent times has necessitated the need for government, business, and civil society actors to be proactive, responsive and inclusive in using the internet and digital technologies to do their work as we have never seen in time past. With technologies evolving as well as bringing together (digital connectivity) and diving (digital divide) and having implications for national development, it is important to ready the third sector for the opportunities and challenges of AI.
Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGO) with the support of the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ICNL), are convening a national conference on December 8, 2020 to serve as an opportunity for citizens and citizen organisations to understand the AI landscape, advantages and disadvantages of AI especially its impact on fundamental principles and rights, think through potential solutions for creating trustworthy AI including issues of trust and misinformation, explore framework for the governance of digital technologies, open the door for collaboration and building a movement around trust worthy AI in Nigeria. At the end of the conference reports and recorded sessions will be created as substantive contribution to the debate on the development of an AI strategy by the third sector and Nigerian Government.