Data Science Nigeria (DSN), has launched Artificial Intelligent (AI) development book for primary and secondary schools in Nigeria. DSN’s objective is to develop communities of young minds with AI development capacity across Nigerian basic schools. The distribution of the AI development book to primary and secondary schools in Nigeria, free of charge, is one way to achieve the objective.
DSN has a ten-year road map aimed at building a community of AI experts from Nigerian primary and secondary schools. To meet this objective, the convener of DSN, Dr. Olubayo Adekanmbi, said the book will be distributed to schools nationwide with the hope that it will prepare Nigeria in the nearest future as the one of the top 10 AI destinations in the world.
In a country starved of AI knowledge, the book will serve as the foundation of the basic knowledge that young people need. It is designed to democratize AI through simplicity, a factor that will help young ones to comprehend the concepts of AI and yearn to develop what they are learning.
The book which will be unveiled at the annual Artificial Intelligence Summit that will be held on Tuesday 19th of November 2019, in Lagos, is the first of its kind targeting young students in Nigeria.
The event is scheduled to run alongside the Artificial Intelligence Demystified Masterclass for executives and the all-expense paid Artificial Intelligence bootcamp, expected to be tutored by 26 international experts. It is supported by Microsoft, Softcom, Lagos State Office of Innovation, Bluechip Technologies, Retina-AI U.S.A, Axa Mansard, Carbon, Terragon Group and MainOne.
Richly endowed with the basic and deeper information about AI, the book starts with generic introductions to the core concepts; machine learning, deep learning, reinforcement learning and then, using the Python programming language, introduces a step-by-step guide to programming.
Putting the Nigerian environment into consideration, the book is designed to develop the capacity of deep thinking in young ones: A concept that will position Nigeria to harness economic growth in the age of data mining.
The author of the book, Adekanbi said:
“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.
“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 a median age of about 18 years, is a huge strategic advantage that will position Nigeria as one of the top 10 AI knowledge centers 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 startups, 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 the lives of Nigerians, starting with those who train as data scientists and artificial intelligence scientists,” he said.
Adekanmbi has accumulated experience of 20 years in hands-on data science; he is also a researcher and a business leader. These fields of play gave him the basis to develop the AI book to serve the need of Nigerian young minds.
He has led the DSN non-profit vision in its two years of operation to significant successes, initiating transformational engagements that have impacted students positively across the country. That includes the 1st Intercampus Machine Learning competition that involved over 10, 000 students from 95 universities and polytechnics, AI Masterclass for businesses in Nigeria, dedicated Artificial Intelligence Community Hub, Industry-oriented hackathons, AI summer schools for kids, AI+Clubs in secondary schools, development of Nigeria-centric Machine Learning/Deep learning curriculum etc.
The spectator posture of Nigeria as the rest of the world advances in AI is worrisome. The governments have shown no or little interest in developing talents or skills linked to artificial intelligence. Therefore, Adekanmbi’s efforts in bridging the gap between Nigeria and the rest of the world when it comes to STEM bring hope to young minds whose knack for tech and science has been stymied by lack of development amenities.
There is hope that the introduction of this book to Nigerian schools will push the governments to action. The need to encourage technology among the youths cannot be over-emphasized, and as the world is moving away from oil to data-based economy, the importance cannot be ignored.