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National Communications Commission Demands Clarity on AI Development Processes

Nigeria’s telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has called for transparency as a guiding principle for developers working on artificial intelligence (AI) systems. This push for openness coincides with World Consumer Rights Day, an annual global event on March 15th to advocate for fair consumer treatment and protection.

Speaking at an NCC event in Abuja last Friday commemorating World Consumer Rights Day 2024, whose theme was “Fair and Responsible Artificial Intelligence for the Consumer,” NCC Executive Vice Chairman Dr. Aminu Maida emphasized the need for an ethical approach to AI adoption. He noted that with 5G driving more AI deployment across sectors in Nigeria, consumers’ rights must be safeguarded as these potent technologies become increasingly pervasive, especially in sensitive domains like healthcare, finance, and transportation.

Represented by the Executive Commissioner-Designate for Technical Services, Abraham Oshadami, Dr. Maida urged AI developers to prioritize transparency by disclosing details about the data, algorithms, and models powering their AI systems. The NCC argues such openness is key for ensuring the fair and responsible rollout of AI, as it allows for scrutiny of how AI models arrive at decisions and enables troubleshooting to prevent bias or discrimination.

He further said that robust accountability measures must be implemented as AI’s capabilities and adoption grow. He called on AI developers to prioritize transparency in their models and data and areas like billing systems and services powered by AI. This allows for explainable AI decisions that can be audited and corrected if mistakes or unfair biases are identified.

Moreover, the commission stressed the importance of robust data privacy practices, calling for AI organizations to handle personal data responsibly and comply with strict regulations. They stated that this is essential for protecting consumers and fostering public trust in the development and deployment of AI across Nigeria.

The NCC chairman assured that the commission aligns with global trends in promoting responsible AI development. He stated that AI has already become deeply embedded in many aspects of modern life, from voice assistants to recommendation algorithms.

The chairman further stressed the need for mechanisms that enable human oversight and the ability for consumers to challenge problematic AI outcomes. Consumers, he stated, should have a clear understanding of how the AI systems they interact with function and an accessible path for raising concerns about biased or discriminatory outputs.

Ultimately, Dr. Maida urged Nigerian AI developers to view responsible practices like transparency, privacy protection, and accountability as ethical imperatives and vital for promoting inclusivity and equality and building public trust in AI’s adoption throughout the country’s economy and society. He argued that proactive measures cementing these principles will ensure AI benefits everyone fairly regardless of background.

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