A journey into the unpredictable – embrace ‘Artificial Intelligence’, ZICTA challenges All

ZICTA Director General Patrick Mutimushi at the commemoration of World Telecommunications and Information Security day on 17 May.

Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) the communications regulator celebrated World Telecommunications day on 17 May barely 12 days’ after Zambia was appointed to the 12-member board of Smart Africa initiative in Rwanda.

“Allow me to commence by indicating that this year’s commemoration of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is a special one to me and the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), and indeed the government of the Republic of Zambia. This is because the commemoration comes barely a week after Zambia was appointed to the twelve (12) member countries’ Board of Smart Africa Initiative at the just ended “Transform Africa Summit” held in Kigali, Rwanda a week ago, ZICTA Director General Patrick Mutimushi said in his opening remarks.

Appointment to the 12-member board of Smart Africa initiative gives Zambia a great opportunity to be in the steering board providing leadership on the use of ICTs for socio-economic development as promoted by the African Union (AU).  Zambia will be represented by the Honorable Minister of Transport and Communications Mr. Brian Mushimba.

ZICTA celebrated World Telecommunications and Information Security day which it themed “Enabling the Positive Use of Artificial Intelligence for All”. The theme was chosen because it emphasizes an integral part of the digital ecosystem as almost all services ranging from banking to telecoms services are digitized.

Artificial Intelligence – AI

What is artificial intelligence?

Artificial Intelligence is defined as the theory and development of computer systems able to perform tasks normally requiring human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages. Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks. Most AI examples that you hear about today – from chess-playing computers to self-driving cars – rely heavily on deep learning and natural language processing. Using these technologies, computers can be trained to accomplish specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data.

Journey into the world of unpredictable and possibilities – Artificial Intelligence

Director General Mutimushi Mushimba acknowledged the rise in technology usage and key advancements constantly being made. The ZICTA boss further recognized that the world is now morphing into an era of Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the era which enables a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings. With AI, systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalize, or learn from past experience are developed. It means giving non-living things, such as computers and robots, the ability to think for themselves to an extent, he said.

AI as an ICT component to achieving economic development

Artificial intelligence – AI was recognized as a key ICT component in achieving sustainable economic development. The role AI plays in economic transformation was emphasized with focus on the need to embrace it in every aspect of national developmental planning across economic sectors. Mitumushi said only when this condition is met will we develop our domestic production capacity and expand Zambia’s international trade anchored on technological advancement. Further, this can only be possible if certain driving ingredients and advancements such as artificial intelligence are embraced by proponents of such change. 

Mitumushi shared intel on government developments, through ZICTA, to include facilitation of the development of the national broadband strategy which is aimed at facilitating the provisioning of affordable, universal access to broadband and infrastructure to citizens, business, communities and government to stimulate the usage of broadband services in order to promote social economic development.

“Everything we love about civilization is a product of intelligence, so amplifying our human intelligence with artificial intelligence has the potential of helping civilization flourish like never before – as long as we manage to keep the technology beneficial,” end of quote.

Max Tegmark – President of the Future of Life Institute

Positive use of Artificial Intelligence for all emphasised

Positive Use of Artificial Intelligence for All has been emphasized and is in alignment with the Smart Zambia Now Vision that aims at transforming Zambia into a prosperous and knowledge based developed country by 2064. Under this vision, a Smart Zambia Project was conceived and is being implemented to improve the ICT infrastructure and build ICT human capacity. Suffice to note that ZICTA has been highly involved in the implementation of this project which has seen the Talent Training Centre being completed at the Zambia ICT College.

Artificial Intelligence the future of Zambia’s ICT sector

AI has been cited as the future of Zamia’s ICT sector, its science and technology, innovation, entrepreneurship and indeed research and development. Maximum uptake and usage of AI tools will spur the success of the ICT sector. Universities, colleges and vocational centers have been challenged to widen their research horizons to embrace AI. For the innovators and entrepreneurs – dare to dream big. For the industry players in the ICT sector, strive for excellence and to be the best in what you do, Mutimushi said in closing.

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