• Wednesday, April 17, 2024
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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the current elephant in the boardroom

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the current elephant in the boardroom

As businesses across the globe grapple with the implications and opportunities of this transformative technology, Nigeria, with its burgeoning tech scene and entrepreneurial spirit, stands at a pivotal juncture. The nation has the potential to harness AI to address its unique challenges and leapfrog traditional developmental hurdles.

Today, AI is not just a buzzword but a tangible force driving change in various sectors. From Lagos to Abuja, Nigerian businesses are beginning to recognise the transformative power of AI. With advancements in machine learning, neural networks, and deep learning, AI systems can process vast amounts of data, recognise patterns, and make decisions with minimal human intervention.

Read also: The transformative potential of Artificial Intelligence in ADR

The concept of AI dates back to ancient history, with myths of automatons and artificial beings. However, the modern journey of AI began in the mid-20th century. In 1956, the Dartmouth Workshop marked the birth of AI as an academic discipline. Over the decades, AI saw periods of optimism, followed by “AI winters” of scepticism. The 21st century, with its explosion of data and computational power, reignited the AI flame, leading to the current boom.

AI in action: Opportunities across sectors

Services sector:  Customer service automation: Utilizing AI chatbots and virtual assistants to handle customer inquiries, complaints, and FAQs, reducing response times and improving customer satisfaction.

Predictive maintenance: Implementing AI algorithms to predict when equipment or systems are likely to fail, allowing for proactive maintenance in industries like HVAC, elevators, or automotive services, and thereby reducing downtime and costs.

Personalised service recommendations: Using AI to analyse customer data and behaviour to offer personalised services, such as tailored travel recommendations in the hospitality industry or customised workout plans in fitness services.

E-Commerce sector: Personalised Shopping Experiences: AI algorithms analyse customer behaviour, past purchases, and preferences to recommend products, improving customer engagement and increasing sales.

Inventory management and demand forecasting: AI tools predict future product demand, optimising inventory levels and reducing overstock or stockouts, thereby saving costs and improving efficiency.

Fraud detection and prevention: Implementing AI to analyse transaction data in real-time to identify and prevent fraudulent activities, enhancing security for the business and its customers.

Education Sector: Adaptive learning platforms: AI-driven platforms that adapt to individual students’ learning styles and paces, providing personalised educational experiences and improving learning outcomes.

Automated grading and feedback: Using AI to grade assignments and provide feedback, saving educators time and providing students with prompt responses.

Exam malpractice prevention: AI can significantly reduce exam malpractice by using real-time video and audio analysis monitoring. These AI-powered proctoring systems employ facial recognition for identity verification and analyse response patterns to detect cheating. This technology ensures exam integrity, especially in large-scale or remote exams, maintaining academic fairness efficiently.

Read also: Artificial Intelligence in marketing communications: My perspective

Creative Sector: AI in music and art composition: AI algorithms that can create music, art, or literary works, providing tools for artists to explore new creative processes or generate creative content for specific purposes.

 Before diving into the AI pool, Nigerian organisations need to assess their readiness. This involves evaluating data infrastructure, understanding the workforce’s skill set, and aligning AI goals with business objectives

Content personalisation in media and entertainment: AI-driven recommendation engines for streaming services that suggest movies, TV shows, and music based on individual user preferences.

Automated video editing and production: AI tools that assist in video editing, from colour correction to selecting the best clips to use, streamlining the production process.

Public sector: Smart city technologies: AI applications in traffic management, public safety, and utility services, leading to more efficient city operations and improved quality of life for residents.

Predictive policing and crime analysis: Using AI to analyse data for predicting potential crime hotspots, helping law enforcement agencies to allocate resources more effectively.

Public health monitoring and response: AI systems that track public health data to identify potential outbreaks of diseases, improving response times and resource allocation for public health crises.

These examples illustrate AI’s diverse and transformative impact across various sectors, driving efficiency, personalisation, and innovation.

The power of generative AI

Generative AI, a subset of AI, can create content, be it text, images, or music. This has profound implications for industries like entertainment, advertising, and design in Nigeria. Imagine Nollywood movies using AI-generated soundtracks or Lagos-based fashion designers employing AI for bespoke designs.

Solving business challenges with AI

Customer services: AI chatbots, already in use by several Nigerian businesses, can handle a vast majority of customer queries, ensuring 24/7 support. They can also predict customer needs, leading to proactive solutions and enhanced satisfaction.

Business development: AI can analyse market trends specific to Nigeria, consumer behaviour, and competitor strategies, providing insights for business expansion and product development.

Operations management: AI-driven analytics can optimise supply chains, enhance resource allocation, and streamline operations, ensuring efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

AI readiness assessment: The starting point

Before diving into the AI pool, Nigerian organisations need to assess their readiness. This involves evaluating data infrastructure, understanding the workforce’s skill set, and aligning AI goals with business objectives. An AI readiness assessment ensures the organisation can harness AI’s potential while mitigating risks.

Read also: Artificial Intelligence disrupts Nigerian comic, animation industry

Bottom line

With its rich diversity and untapped potential, Nigeria is poised to be a significant player in the AI arena. But this requires proactive steps from businesses, governments, and individuals. As I often emphasise, the future belongs to those who innovate. So, whether you’re a startup in Lagos, a manufacturer in Kano, or a service provider in Port Harcourt, now is the time to explore the possibilities with AI.

Reach out, understand where AI can fit into your growth story, and be a part of the AI-driven future. The elephant in the boardroom is not just a challenge; it’s an opportunity waiting to be seized.


Adeoye is the Chief Executive Officer of 235 Services (UK) Limited and Co-Convener of AI In Nigeria. He can be reached via [email protected] or +44 7709 014823.