Nigeria to get first AI book for elementary schools

… as DSN moves to create one million AI specialists in 10 years

In furtherance of its vision to democratise Artificial Intelligence (AI) and position Nigeria as a future global powerhouse in the fourth industrial revolution, the convener of Data Science Nigeria (DSN), Olubayo Adekanmbi, has released a first-of-its-kind book that simplifies AI for primary and secondary schools pupils.

This effort is in alignment with DSN’s roadmap to build a community of one million talented AI specialists in Nigeria during the next 10 years, which will position Nigeria as one of the top 10 AI talent destination in the world, with significant GDP multiplier across all industries.

The book is an effort towards AI knowledge democratisation as it simplifies the concept of artificial intelligence in a friendly manner for the young ones, with a view to stimulating their curiosity and drives their interest in learning about AI.

The book starts with generic introductions to the core concepts including machine learning, deep learning and reinforcement learning, and then introduces step-by-step programming using the Python programming language.

“My intention is to go beyond the traditional code-first approach and motivate readers by helping them to understand what the knowledge of coding can do particularly in AI as a way to build an application-focused mindset,” the author said.

The book is driven by a sense of higher purpose to catalyse nationwide capacity building with the skills of the future.

Adekanmbi says, “By creating pervasive knowledge across the country, we will open opportunities for every Nigerian to build the skills of the future. I believe that  Nigeria’s population of 200 million, with median age of about 18 years, is a huge strategic advantage that will position Nigeria as one of the top 10 AI knowledge centres in the world, especially if we proactively re-tool and reskill our young ones with relevant skills that can drive increased employability, foreign exchange inflows, AI-enabled start-ups, and enhance the general quality of life through solution-oriented AI applications in health, agriculture, financial inclusion, smart cities, and more. This will greatly benefit lives of Nigerians, starting with those who train as data scientists and artificial intelligence specialists.”

With this book, Nigerian students who want to learn Big Data, Data Science, Machine/Deep Learning and other advanced analytics tools can now access to easy-to-understand simple learning materials with relevant practical exercises. The book is fully supported by Softcom, and will be distributed free in Nigerian schools.

Adekanmbi is an experienced hands-on data scientist, doctoral researcher and business leader with 20 years of experience.

He has led the DSN non-profit vision, which in the last two years of operation has distinguished itself with its transformational initiatives including the 1st Intercampus Machine Learning competition that involved over 10,000 students from 95 universities and polytechnics, dedicated Artificial Intelligence Community Hub, AI Summer Schools for Kids, AI Masterclass sessions for top business executives in Nigeria, industry-oriented hackathons, Learning-based Kaggle competitions, a Mentorship programme, development of Nigeria-centric Machine Learning/Deep learning curriculum/online learning platform,  AI+ Clubs in secondary schools, and its highly successful all-expenses-paid Artificial Intelligence Bootcamp.

The book will be unveiled at the annual Artificial Intelligence Summit, scheduled to hold on Tuesday 19 November 2019 in Lagos.

The event will run in parallel with the Artificial Intelligence Demystified Masterclass for executive and the all-expense-paid Artificial Intelligence bootcamp, where 26 international experts will be flying to Nigeria as tutors and mentors during the same week.

The events are proudly supported by Microsoft, Softcom, Lagos State Office of Innovation, Terragon Group, Bluechip Technologies, Axa Mansard, Retina-AI USA, Techcabal, Proshare Nigeria, MainOne and Carbon.