FUTA Don Advocates for the Effective Utilization of AI in Addressment of Societal Issues

In an era where digital technologies are reshaping the frontiers of our society, a key figure from the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) has spotlighted the pivotal role Artificial Intelligence (AI) could play in advancing societal benefits. Professor Bolanle Ojokoh, a luminary in the field of Computer Science with a specialization in artificial intelligence, conveyed this message during the 168th inaugural lecture at the university held on June 24, 2024.

The lecture titled “Intelligent Traversal through the Information Wilderness: Towards Knowledge Discovery and Decision Support” was not only a platform for discussion but also served as a clarion call for the integration of AI in various sectors to foster societal advancement. “AI’s influence is increasingly evident across multiple domains,” Professor Ojokoh stated, highlighting its applications in healthcare for diagnosis, personal treatment plans, and drug discovery. Similarly, in the financial sector, AI contributes to fraud detection, algorithm trading, and risk management. Moreover, customer service benefits from AI through the deployment of chatbots and virtual assistants.

Despite AI’s potential, its rise poses challenges, including the rise of misinformation and disinformation. Professor Ojokoh advocated for the implementation of standard quality indicators for online information, enhancement of transparency in search engine algorithms, and the promotion of media literacy through education. She proposed that policymakers could introduce economic incentives to curb the spread of false information.

With the explosive growth in AI, there’s a growing call for ethical development and application. “The advent of open-source libraries and cloud platforms is democratizing AI, enabling smaller enterprises and individual developers to unlock AI’s capabilities,” she mentioned. Professor Ojokoh emphasized the importance of developing AI technologies that are aligned with ethical standards and societal values to ensure its benefits are maximized while minimizing harm.

In her discourse, Professor Ojokoh recommended setting up a sturdy ethical framework to guide AI’s development. This includes addressing issues related to bias, privacy, and transparency and fostering the creation of ethical AI models through incentives. She further highlighted the promise AI holds for healthcare, urging for equitable access to AI-powered healthcare tools alongside stringent privacy and security measures to protect sensitive health data.

International collaboration, according to Professor Ojokoh, is essential for crafting global standards and regulations for AI technology. She underscored the need for policies that are adaptable to the rapid advancements in technology, ensuring that AI development is in alignment with sustainability and considers environmental and social impacts.

The Vice Chancellor of FUTA, Professor Adenike Oladiji, praised Professor Ojokoh as a “cerebral researcher and erudite scholar” whose work in artificial intelligence has significantly contributed to the academia and society at large. Professor Oladiji lauded Ojokoh for her leadership and dedication to propelling intellectual advancements within and beyond the university.

As the digital landscape continues to evolve, the insights shared by Professor Ojokoh underscore the importance of steering AI development towards societal betterment, ensuring that this powerful technology serves as a beacon of progress and innovation, rather than a source of division and dilemma.

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