From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja 

As Nigeria marked World Consumer Rights Day, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has highlighted the importance of a fair and ethical Artificial Intelligence (AI) devoid of bias and privacy issues.

NCC Executive Secretary, Dr. Aminu Maida, stated this  at an occasion to commemorate the day at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja at the weekend. 

Represented by Abraham Ogbadami, Executive Commissioner (designate) Technical Services, Maida highlighted the significant impact of AI on human lives and stressed the critical need to use it responsibly to uphold consumer trust and prevent potential issues

The NCC boss explained that responsible AI means using it in an ethical way throughout its development, deployment, and usage, including considering issues like bias, privacy, transparency, and accountability. 

He said: “According to reports, responsible AI aims to empower consumers, build trust, and minimize negative effects.

 “To this effect AI Developers need to be transparent about the data, algorithms, and models used in AI systems. This ensures that decisions made by AI can be explained and mistakes can be fixed to ensure everyone is treated fairly, regardless of their background. This helps prevent biased decisions or discrimination thereby promoting inclusivity and equality.

 “Protecting citizens’ privacy is extremely important when using AI. Organizations should handle personal data responsibly, following strict privacy regulations. Respecting privacy builds trust in AI systems.

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 “Responsible AI requires mechanisms for holding systems accountable and explaining their decisions. Consumers should understand how AI systems work and have a way to address issues or biases.

The EVC noted that developing regulations and policies to govern AI deployment can be complex and as well as playing catch up due to technological advancements. 

He said, although most Legislative and governing bodies are looking to regulate AI technology, there has been a continuous struggle to strike the right balance between risk mitigation and stifling innovation, while promoting innovation and ensuring security and trust.

“The Commission in pursuit to join the global community to advance digital services and enhance quality communications infrastructure for the benefit of the citizenry conducted a globally acclaimed most transparent auction for 5G services in Nigeria firstly on December 13th 2021 and secondly on December 5th 2022. The first auction saw the emergence of MTN and MAFAB as the successful bidders while Airtel Networks Nigeria emerged as the sole bidder at the second auction.

“Since the emergence of these operators as providers of 5G services in Nigeria, there has been a steady growth in the development and deployment of AI systems and services and the Commission has been constantly ensuring that the growth is the right direction that guarantees value addition to Consumer satisfaction and experience as well as ensuring economic growth.

Regulatory Challenges”

“In this era that has seen the rise of AI and IoT cybersecurity, it is important to break silos and foster collaboration of the Quadruple Helix Innovation model consisting of the Academia, the Industry, Government and Society to share ideas. AI developers and Regulators have to ensure AI system algorithms consider ethics and inclusivity.” Maida stated.