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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

World Consumers Right Day: NCC assures AI holds credible potential to improve consumers’ lives

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The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has assured the public that advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AI) holds credible potential to improve consumers’ quality of lives.

The executive vice chairman/chief executive officer of the commission, Dr. Aminu Maida, gave the assurance on the World Consumer Right Day (WCRD) 2024 on Friday in Abuja.

Maida added that AI is a force that is shaping our future in profound ways.

The theme of this year’s World Consumer Right Day 2024 is “Fair and Responsible Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Consumer.”

In his address, the NCC boss said: “It holds incredible potential to improve our lives, but it also challenges us to think critically about how we harness this power responsibly. Our continuous resolve to Protect, Inform, and Educate (PIE Mandate) the telecom consumer is unwavering, particularly as AI technologies continue to advance there is a need to foster innovation while safeguarding fundamental rights, values, and dignity of consumers.”

Dr. Maida while speaking at the WCRD2024 held at the NCC head office, Maitama, Abuja, said that consumers are the most important part of any business, and their protection is of utmost importance. “Every year, on March 15th, World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated to raise awareness about the rights of consumers worldwide and protect them from unfair trade practices.

“With the Commission’s special interest and commitment to Consumer Protection, we have proactively put in place consumer-centric initiatives to deal with first-level complaints by the telecom consumer. These initiatives include the Consumer Complaints Management (CCM), through which various channels of lodging complaints were created, the NCC Toll-free line 622 available between 8:00 am to 8:00 pm daily except on Sundays and Public Holidays, the Do-Not-Disturb (DND) Code 2442, for stopping unsolicited messages, the Consumer Portal-http://consumer.ncc.gov.ng, and the Commission Consumer X account @Consumersncc.

“Other initiatives include the Telecom Consumer Assistance, Resolution and Enquiries (TELCARE), at Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, an additional platform to enhance awareness of the Commission’s activities, make enquiries on consumer complaints and also for advocacy on any thematic telecom issues or concern. Also not to overlook the most recent, the Harmonized Short Codes initiative which enables consumers to use the same codes to access services across all networks. Recall that one major focus area of the strategic roadmap of the Nigerian Communications Commission’s current Management is the Consumer.”

He said developing regulations and policies to govern AI deployment can be complex and as well as playing catch up due to technological advancements.

“Although most legislative and governing bodies are looking to regulate this technology, there has been a continuous struggle to strike the right balance between risk mitigation and stifling innovation, while promoting innovation and ensuring security and trust. In this era that has seen the rise of AI and IoT cybersecurity, it is important to break silos and foster collaboration of the Quadruple Helix Innovation model comprising of the Academia, the Industry, Government and Society to share ideas. AI developers and Regulators have to ensure AI system algorithms consider, ethics and inclusivity.”

“The rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping industries and transforming the way we live and work. However, as AI technologies become increasingly integrated into various aspects of society, so they bring forth a complex web of legal and regulatory challenges. Navigating this uncharted territory requires a careful examination of existing laws, the development of new regulations, and ethical considerations to ensure that AI benefits society without compromising fundamental rights and values.”

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