Though, the Federal Government said Nigeria would not be left behind in harnessing the gains and opportunities inherent in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), many Nigerians are yet to have full knowledge of the technologies that drive 4IR.
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Pantami who described as enormous the opportunities and gains in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, said the present administration would leverage on them to develop the country in all ramifications.
But what is the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is a way of describing the blurring of boundaries between the physical, digital, and biological worlds. It’s a fusion of advances in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), Web3, blockchain, 3D printing, genetic engineering, quantum computing, and other technologies. It’s the collective force behind many products and services that are fast becoming indispensable to modern life. Think GPS systems that suggest the fastest route to a destination, voice-activated virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri, personalized Netflix recommendations, and Facebook’s ability to recognize your face and tag you in a friend’s photo.
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As a result of these technologies, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is paving the way for transformative changes in the way we live and radically disrupting almost every business sector.
What are the technologies driving 4IR?
The easiest way to understand the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to focus on the technologies driving it. These include the following:
Artificial intelligence (AI)
AI describes computers that can “think” like humans. They can recognize complex patterns, process information, draw conclusions, and make recommendations. AI is used in many ways, from spotting patterns in huge piles of unstructured data to powering the autocorrect on your phone.
Web3 is the third iteration of the internet. Web1 allowed people to access and read information on websites, like Yahoo. In Web2, blogs, wikis, and social media like Twitter and YouTube got introduced, giving people more control over the information they created and shared. In Web3, the decentralized world puts ownership into the hands of the community. Web3 comprises blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies, and token-based economics, like NFTs.
Blockchain is a secure, decentralized, and transparent way of recording and sharing data, with no need to rely on third-party intermediaries. The digital currency Bitcoin is the best known blockchain application. However, the technology can be used in other ways, including making supply chains traceable, securing sensitive medical data anonymously, and combating voter fraud.
Faster computer processing
New computational technologies are making computers smarter. They enable computers to process vast amounts of data faster than ever before, while the advent of the cloud has allowed businesses to safely store and access their information from anywhere with internet access. Quantum computing technologies now in development will eventually make computers millions of times more powerful. These computers will have the potential to supercharge AI, create highly complex data models in seconds, and speed up the discovery of new materials.
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR)
What’s the difference? VR offers immersive digital experiences (using a VR headset) that simulate the real world, while augmented reality (AR) merges the digital and physical worlds.
Biotechnology harnesses cellular and biomolecular processes to develop new technologies and products for a range of uses, including developing new pharmaceuticals and materials, more efficient industrial manufacturing processes, and cleaner, more efficient energy sources.
Robotics refers to the design, manufacture, and use of robots for personal and commercial use. While we’re yet to see robot assistants in every home, technological advances have made robots increasingly complex and sophisticated. They are used in fields as wide-ranging as manufacturing, health and safety, and human assistance.
The Internet of Things
The IoT describes everyday items — from medical wearables that monitor users’ physical condition, to cars and tracking devices inserted into parcels — connected to the internet and identifiable by other devices. A big plus for businesses is they can collect customer data from constantly connected products, allowing them to better gauge how customers use products and tailor marketing campaigns accordingly. There are also many industrial applications, such as farmers putting IoT sensors into fields to monitor soil attributes and inform decisions such as when to fertilize.
3D printing allows manufacturing businesses to print their own parts, with less tooling, at a lower cost, and faster than via traditional processes. Plus, designs can be customized to ensure a perfect fit. (www.salesforce.com)
Meanwhile, the World Bank has asked Nigeria to increase its broadband penetration to provide internet access to people in rural areas and remote places.
The World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, made the call while speaking on the sidelines of the maiden Digital Economy Regional Conference in Abuja.
Chaudhuri said there was great potential in the Nigeria’s digital sector and that there is the need for more reforms going forward.
“The Ministry also did talk about broadband penetration. It is important to make sure that no one is left behind especially poor families mostly in rural areas. I think the key thing is, how do we make sure that every person, no matter where they are in Nigeria has that same access to the digital economy?
“Nigeria’s young population has tremendous potential but you have to ensure that there is equal access to broadband penetration. In places like Lagos, Abuja there is a lot of dynamism already but what the Minister has said is getting that access out to the rural areas so that every child and every young person has that access. I think the telecom sector has been quite key to Nigeria’s resilience in the last three years,” Chaudhuri said.
The World Bank director further said: “I urge states to cooperate with Federal Government and make it easy for private firms to lay the fibres for investment. Second is digital skills especially for the girl child to have access to digital skills so that they can be able to contribute to areas of growth going forward.”
Adoption of emerging technologies will scale Nigeria socio-economic development – FG
And the Federal Government has said the adoption of emerging technologies and implementing them will scale the socio-economic development of Nigeria.
This was disclosed by the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa when he received the Deputy Commandant and Director of Studies of the National Institute of Security Studies, Mr. De Egbeji at the corporate headquarters of the agency in Abuja.
Speaking during the visit, Inuwa said research is ongoing globally where farm products can be produced from vertical and soil-less farming, where cultured meat can be produced from animal stem cells and where 3D printing technology can be used to produce bioartificial organs for the body.
The NITDA DG said the agency’s National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) had been doing a lot of research on the advancement of technology in the country.
He also said agency had been collaborating with various institutions and organizations in the country with the purpose of providing security and diversifying the nation’s economy.
Earlier, Mr. Egbeji appreciated the DG and his management team for the warm reception and for the agency’s enviable unprecedented achievements over the years.
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