On 16th October 22020, several reports claimed that Singapore has released a reference document and guide for using artificial intelligence (AI) in the country, is it time for Nigeria and other developing countries to start considering this as well?
The Singaporean document is titled, AI Ethics & Governance Body of Knowledge (BoK). According to ZDNet, it is based on the country’s updated Model AI Governance Framework. It will guide businesses and individuals who are looking to leverage AI tech in their respective fields.
The document contains both the advantages and disadvantages of using AI and it will guide those who consult it to be responsible, ethical and human-centric. Singapore Computer Society (SCS) compiled the document and over 60 experts in different disciplines contributed to its success.
Like facial recognition tech, which is also one of its product, the adoption of AI has raised many concerns among both tech experts and the public. Some of the concerns range from fictional ones about a Terminator-like Skynet to practical ones like abuse of privacy.
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Thus, it is important that advancing countries like Nigeria begin working towards ways they can regulate AI tech. This is because many tech investors look for regions of the world without strict laws where they can deploy and test some of their unstable tech. Fearing sanctions and other punishments, they may seek out less regulated regions. It is not to say that AI is foreign to Nigeria, only that most of its adoption are for basic purposes like data analytics.
This can lead to serious national security threat or even abuse of individual privacy. Of course, it may be too early to start thinking of this when there are still basic aspects of development that are lacking in ‘developing countries’. Yet, it may be too late to apply restrictions when the ball is already rolling.
Singapore Computer Society (SCS) President Chong Yoke Sin understands the importance of regulating AI tech. Its ability to improve computing independence through machine learning is one of them. This can lead to unprecedented threat to human life. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has also beat this same drum for many years now.
There is, however, a danger of overly restricting AI in countries. It can leave such countries behind in the giant tech leap that is set to occur anytime soon. Thus, the need for code of ethics in every region of the world when it comes to AI adoption. It will be wise for countries where the tech is not yet popular to start planning on how they would ensure it is used ethically. Also considering that even so-called advanced countries stumble over how to ensure tech like facial recognition is not abused.
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