• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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LASCOPA advocates fair, responsible IT for consumers

LASCOPA advocates fair, responsible IT for consumers

The role of responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the daily lives of consumers in Nigeria and beyond was highlighted at a one-day conference and exhibition hosted by the Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency (LASCOPA).

The event came under the theme, ‘Fair and responsible Artificial Intelligence for consumers.’’ It was part of LASCOPA’s activities to mark the 2024 World Consumer Rights Day.

The General Manager of LASCOPA, Afolabi Solebo who spoke at the event, stressed the importance of fair and responsible AI in the day- to- day activities of consumers.

“We must advocate for fairness in these systems. Fairness entails unbiased algorithms that treat everyone equitably irrespective of their background, race, or socio-economic status.”

For Afolabi, the importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) cannot be overstated as it has revolutionised the way businesses engage with their clientele.

“Consumers are surrounded by AI-driven technologies, from personalised recommendations to automated decision-making processes. In the rapidly advancing landscape of technology, the integration of Artificial Intelligence has become an integral part of our daily lives.”

LASCOPA boss further explained that the current dispensation, the top AI talent market is diversifying and deepening as major manufacturing- Automotive adding, “health, defense, consultancy companies, banks and many others are reinventing themselves as AI-led technology organisations. The ability of these companies to attract and grow their top AI talent is exponential.”

He pointed out that responsible AI involves transparency and accountability, adding that consumers deserve to know how their data is being used and have the right to understand the decisions made by AI systems. “Developers and Companies must prioritise ethical considerations, ensuring that AI benefits the society as a whole.

For him, making Lagos a 21st Century economy, can only happen with a collective responsibility of every consumer, manufacturer, stakeholder and indeed the government in ensuring it contributes its quota in actualising this vision by embracing the principles of fairness and accountability in order to build a more inclusive and sustainable future for AI.

Giving a brief background of the agency, the General Manager recalled that it was established as a result of the state government growing concern to ensure that consumers in the state do not only have a voice, but to also ensure the promotion and protection of consumer rights.

On her part, Group Executive Director for Strategic Commercial Operation, Dangote Industries, Fatima Aliko-Dangote, urged organisations to see consumers as kings and added that they should treat them as such.

Also, she implored government on addressing some challenges that comes with the deployment of artificial intelligence.

On the other hand, she called for collective actions from government in the area of regulatory framework and other relevant stakeholders.

“Rights of consumers to safe and non-hazardous products; right to information and adequate sensitisation on consumption decisions, and right to seek redress and be heard should not be undermined.”

Speaking earlier, Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Commerce, Cooperatives, Trade and Investment, Abiodun Tobun, advised Lagos State Consumer Protection Agency to strengthen its relationship with the judiciary.

According to him, this will ensure speedy trials for court cases bordering on breach of consumer rights as well as increase confidence in the activities of the agency.

QNET’s Regional Manager for sub-Saharan Africa Biran Fall, who also spoke at the event urged everyone to continue advocating for consumer rights within their communities.

Fall who was represented by Nana Quartey, QNET’s Senior Regional Legal Counsel for Sub Sahara Africa stressed on education and consumer rights in order to make informed choices and hold businesses accountable for their actions.

“Through education, consumers gain the knowledge they need to make informed decisions and protect themselves from exploitation and demand accountability.

“Empowered consumers safeguard their interests and contribute to a more transparent and competitive marketplace that benefits society as a whole.

“This significantly strengthens consumer protection laws by enabling consumers to make informed purchase decisions.

“Educated consumers are also better equipped to identify fraudulent or deceptive practices, report violations of their rights, and advocate for policies that safeguard their interests,” he said.