The Acting Executive Director Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Eng. Irene Kaggwa has urged higher institutions of learning to be mindful of the risks that come with the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) as they adopt the emerging technologies.
Eng Kaggwa said Artificial Intelligence has a lot of advantages in the new education system like helping in enhancing the trainers knowledge and ability to teach effectively and assisting learners in being more creative and innovative.
She, however, cautioned that the new technology also has challenges that must be addressed.
“When we think of Artificial Intelligence, there are areas that we must put focus on which include trust that can be enhanced by ethics, privacy through data protection and security by the design of the AI,” she observed.
“There also must be someone accountable for that machine. Artificial Intelligence doesn’t mean that machines are a replacement for humans, they should be used to enhance the human ability.”
Ms Kaggwa was speaking at the second annual Higher Education Conference that opened today at Hotel Africana under the theme; “Higher Education and Private Sector Engagement: Preparing Uganda’s Human Capital for the 4th revolution’.
She made a keynote presentation on “Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4.”
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR)—characterized by the fusion of the digital, biological, and physical worlds, as well as the growing utilization of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things, and advanced wireless technologies, among others—has ushered in a new era of economic disruption with uncertain socio-economic consequences for Africa.
However, Africa has been left behind during the past industrial revolutions.
A special taskforce of experts was last year put in place to assist government in planning for the adoption of these emerging technologies.
Eng Kaggwa said Uganda must “ensure the data you feed into these machines is quality data and well researched because machines work on the understanding of ‘garbage in garbage out’. If you feed the machines on garbage, it will also produce garbage.”
She further urged the institutions to adopt the technology and use it to train and skill their students so that they are able to compete favorably in the job market.
Speaking on the same matter, the UCC head of Public Affairs, Ibrahim Bossa said the Commission has the mandate to ensure that there are safeguards to all security issues that may come as a result of new innovations through regulations like the new licensing framework and Privacy and Data Protection Act.
” The new licensing framework work requires that all innovators must seek confirmation from the regulator before they put products on the market. This gives UCC an opportunity to scrutinize the product and ensure that the product meets all the security safeguards needed to protect users data and privacy,” he said.
Prof Tony Oyana, the Principal of Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences called for more training of more scientists to strengthen the adoption of 4iRs in Uganda.
“Go to the department of physics at Makerere University. You will ask yourself, how much research volume are they producing? If you are going to create things, you need physics and mathematics,” said Prof Oyana.
“We are into the biotechnology world. But the number of biologists we are producing is very limited. The education system needs to be fixed,” he added.
He said more attention should be given to “four subjects that inform the 4iR – Physical sciences computer science, physics, chemistry ); biological sciences; art sciences and humanities.”
The conference officially opened by the State Minister for Higher Education John C Muyingo largely focused on how training institutes can use technology to help their students become more employable with productive skills but also become innovators and independent thinkers.