Nigerians’ Interest in AI Rising –Google

Nigerians’ interest in Artificial Intelligence rose by 310 per cent in 2022, Google has disclosed.

Some Nigerians have also expressed concerns that AI may replace them at work, the firm stated on Monday.

The firm disclosed this in a new search trend, which indicated that interest in AI had reached an all-time high in the country, growing by 310 per cent in 2022, and by 1,660 per cent in the last five years.

Most of the questions, about AI, asked by Nigerians included, “What is Artificial Intelligence and how does it work? When did AI start? Where is AI used? What can AI do and how can I use it? Is AI dangerous? and Will AI take my job?”

In a statement, Google West Africa Director, Olumide Balogun, answered some of the questions.

While providing answers to what is AI and how it works, he said, “AI is a type of technology that can learn from its environment, experiences, and people, and that can understand patterns and make projections better than any previous technology before it.

“AI models are trained and created by human engineers, who input data into the AI system to train it. For example, in 2012, we showed an AI model thousands of videos of cats on YouTube, so that it could learn to recognise a cat. Now, with advancements in technology, we could give an AI model hundreds of books on animals to read – and, using those, it would be able to describe a cat to us on its own despite having never been shown one.”

Commenting on whether AI would replace Nigerians at their jobs, Balogun, said that the technology would be brilliant for people’s productivity and for economic opportunity.

He stated that a whole set of jobs would grow, with AI becoming a partner that would help many people make the repetitive tasks of work more efficient, while sparking creativity and enabling individuals to spend more time on the bits of the job that they love and that challenge them.

He said, “As technology has developed, so too has the job market. At the beginning of the last century, people mostly worked in agriculture. Now we have hedge fund managers, cabin crews aboard widely accessible commercial flights – and, as recently as 1995, web designers. So, we have had these questions for a long time and, as a society, we have navigated them well.”

The Google boss continued: “AI will become a partner to many of us, helping us not just to make the repetitive tasks of our work more efficient, but sparking creativity and enabling us to spend more time on the bits of our jobs that we love and that challenge us. We’re already working with people to help them learn how AI can help them.

“Our Grow with Google programmes has trained seven million people and helped to close the digital skills gap in Africa. Governments, NGOs, and the private sector can work together to bring similar schemes about – ensuring that everyone can benefit from AI.”