Artificial Intelligence can fastrack organisations’, countries’ growth – David Mba
While some organisations have inertia to the adoption of Artificial Intelligence, AI others are embracing it for operational efficiency. David Mba, the CTO of Strategic Business Techspace, SBT who spoke to Daniel Obi said that AI machines can respond to customers even when the office is closed. With this, the business will maintain its customers and be competitive. Mba who studied Bioinformatics but delved into AI solutions said SBT established in 2011 is involved in AI trainings, certifications and building solutions. He spoke on more issues on emerging technologies. Excerpts
What is the importance of the adoption of AI by businesses?
AI is recreation of human intelligence processes by machines, especially computer systems and its adoption by businesses cannot be over-emphasised. AI has great impact. Ai was coined by John McCarthy, a US computer scientist in 1956. Since then, AI has undergone several stages. We are now in the stage when it is growing very fast. But it has a lot of role to play in the development of organisations and countries. It will make organisations reduce waste, in terms of resources. For instance, Leo from United Bank for Africa has been adopted to improve efficiency of customer service. AI systems don’t go home; they are always available for operations and making systems efficient. Businesses can have their robot that will respond to customers even when the office is closed. This is one of the beauties of it. But when this system is not there, the office can lose customers.
How would you assess the preparedness of Nigerian businesses in the adoption of AI?
Nigerian businesses are beginning to be aware and adopting the AI Technology. That awareness is key. Even Nigerian start-ups are beginning to think in that line. That is why banks like UBA launched Leo which is about four years now. This will tell you that they are beginning to look into that direction of AI as they see the dividends of AI. The more businesses key into AI, the better for them. AI will do routine jobs like customer care faster and deliver more on investment.
How is Strategic Business Techpace therefore assisting organisations to be aware and adopt AI?
We organise events, train organisations’ workforce, train the trainers and catch them young in schools. In one of the higher institutions in Nigeria we trained their lecturers for them to re-arrange their curriculum to be right in line with current trends. It is also noteworthy that some schools have introduced entrepreneurship programme to enable people become employers of labour and also adopt AI. We therefore provide platforms such as AI to enhance their businesses. We have launched Amanda, which is a conversational AI platform that will enable small businesses, individuals, students to have their own dedicated robots, but it is a shared solution. We are making more students conscious of the dividends of AI. Everything we do is AI. As other people do web development, mobile App development etc, ours is AI development, certification and building solutions. Under AI, I think we are one of the first indigenous companies in Nigeria and Africa to have AI Chatbot certification programme apart from bigger brands like IBM and others.
Do you have an imminent programme coming up?
We have our yearly summit on AI and IoT which is coming up end of this month in Lagos. It is a hybrid event. At the event, speakers from different fields will speak and train. They will also showcase their works in AI and emerging technology. We will have attendants from other African countries. At the event, recognitions will be given to deserving corporates and Nigerian states that have been adopting technology to empower their citizens. We are inviting state governments especially those ones adopting emerging technology. The aim is to show them how they can leverage emerging technology in their governance and improve on deliverables. We are using the summit to launch deep into organisations adopting AI and emerging technology. We want to be the best in the AI ecosystem.
What is the cost or implications of businesses not being AI compliant?
There will be serious churning of customers and one day, the businesses will fold up if they are not thinking of Adopting Artificial Intelligence. Any competitor with AI can take all the customers while others will think it is witchcraft. Education on AI will make a business owner aware of changing realities in Artificial intelligence.
How do organisations and individuals overcome inertia for the adoption of emerging technology?
For businesses, it is just taking bold step and making the decision to adopt AI or any other emerging technology. It is thinking about the benefit and taking the journey or task to achieve it. In simple terms having the end in mind will help individuals and organizations overcome AI-Inertia. If you have the end in mind, your inner energy will wake you up to embrace Artificial or Alternative Intelligence.