• Saturday, May 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Nigeria to champion AI inclusion with local language model

Nigeria wants local languages to be part of the Artificial Intelligence revolution.

This is as the country announced the launch of a Nigerian Multilingual Large Language Model (LLM). This forms part of a series of initiatives reached at the recent National Artificial Intelligence Strategy (NAIS) Workshop, which hosted over 120 ArtificiaI Intelligence experts who gathered to develop a national policy for adopting AI in the country.

On Friday, Dr Bosun Tijani, Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, said the LLM would be trained in five low-resource languages and accented English to ensure stronger language representation in existing datasets for developing Artificial Intelligence solutions.

He noted that over 7,000 fellows from the ministry’s Three Million Technical Talent programme will also support the project.

“The launch of Nigeria’s first Multilingual Large Language Model (LLM) through a partnership between @awarritech, @DataDotOrg, @NITDANigeria, and @NCAIRNigeria,” Tijani stated.

The workshop is part of efforts to make the country a major player in shaping the global narrative of AI adoption.

The minister declared that the country now has an initial draft of a National AI Strategy, and “we also announced some significant developments and partnerships that will lead us towards accelerating the development of AI in Nigeria.”

The progress made at the workshop included the launch of the Nigeria AI Collective, a community collaborating towards accelerating collective prosperity through an inclusive AI ecosystem. Also, a Nigerian computing infrastructure pilot has been created.

He said, “Our second announcement was the partnership between 21st Century Technologies, @Galaxybackbone and @NCAIRNigeria to accelerate the development of Artificial Intelligence projects of national interest.

“21st Century Technology is funding the acquisition of an initial set of GPUs to kickstart our national computing capacity. The compute, which will be available to local researchers, startups, and government entities working on critical AI projects, will reside at the GBB Data centre in the FCT.”

Finally, the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) has been relaunched. This agency is a special-purpose vehicle created to promote research and development on emerging technologies such as AI, Robotics, UAVs, and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their practical application in the country.

In the lead-up to the NAIS Workshop, Tijani argued that the country needs to play a prominent role in AI development and regulation with a strategy. “In a short while, there will be a convergence of AI systems, so Nigeria should be part of that global superpower in the development and regulation of AI,” he added.