Mascot Information and Technology Solutions held the maiden edition of Nigeria ICT Fest on December 4 and 5, 2015 at Magrellos, Festac Town, Lagos, and Radisson Blu Anchorage hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, to discuss bridging the technology gap between Nigeria and the developed world.
International speakers at the event include Micah Redding, USA based software developer and IEET contributing writer, and Mira Kwak, South-Korea based artificial intelligence researcher with IEET Executive Director and fellows Dr. James Hughes, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, Dr. Ben Goertzel and Dr. Natasha Vita-More respectively.
Micah Redding spoke on the first day on the topic: Christianity, Emerging Technologies, and the developing world — Nigeria’s role in humanity’s future. He challenged the view that Christians are not supposed to be actively involved in society; he went on to differentiate between vertical and horizontal development – vertical development refers to developments that are revolutionary while horizontal developments refer to improvements on existing technologies.
Mira Kwak, an artificial intelligence researcher from Seoul Korea spoke on day 2, December 5, 2015 on how to be a leading country by and in ICT. Kwak explained how Nigerian culture could be portrayed positively to the international community – “advantages to latecomers in the developing world is that they can: grow faster than developed countries, avoid trial and error, achieve technological and industrial upgrading and redesign current technologies and solve current ICT problems.”
Furthermore, organizers of Nigeria ICT Fest, Agbolade Omowole, Imolode Michael and Ayemhere Aidaghese, explained the need for awareness on increasing life expectancy in Nigeria with technology, citing that the average health span (life expectancy) in Nigeria is relatively low (52 years) compared to that of Japan (83) and Western Europe (81).
Acknowledged researchers such as Dr. Aubrey de Grey (UK based gerontologist and Chief Science Officer of SENS Foundation), Dr. James Hughes (Executive director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies (IEET)), Dr. Ilia Stambler (Israeli researcher on ageing and Affiliate Scholar with IEET) and Dr. Ben Goertzel spoke extensively on ageing, regenerative medicine, techno-progressivism, artificial general intelligence, etc.
Eray Ozkural, computer scientist from Turkey, while discussing post scarcity economy and singularity cranes, noted that it is imperative for Nigeria to manufacture her own chips to get up to speed with the developed world. Loredana Terec Vlad, researcher at Lumen Research Center in Humanistic and Social Sciences, discussed transhumanism, posthumanism and the ethics surrounding their application.
Nigerian speakers at the event include Olaleye Dada, sport journalist and presenter; Abiodun Mabadeje, motivational speaker and businessman; and Kehinde Ajose, award winning journalist. Mr. Godwin Anyebe, Odia Patricia, and Kehinde Ajose served as the panelists.
Agbolade Omowole explained the essence of the Nigeria ICT Fest, noting the need for Nigeria to catch up with developing countries:
“We are about to witness a technology explosion and it is important for countries of the world to grow together to ensure that these technologies are affordable and available to everyone regardless of geographical regions and size of bank account.”