Nigerian blockchain leader advocates AI to save African languages

Lucky Uwakwe, chairman of the Blockchain Industry Coordinating Committee of Nigeria (BICCoN), has emphasized the importance of using artificial intelligence (AI) to preserve African languages at risk of extinction. 

In a recent interview with Cointelegraph, Uwakwe highlighted the urgent need to protect languages, as fewer people speak them due to various socio-economic factors. Uwakwe pointed to the example of languages in Plateau State, Nigeria, where insecurity has displaced communities, causing their languages to scatter and decline.

AI and blockchain use

According to Uwakwe, the goal is to ensure no language is lost or becomes extinct. He stated that technological advancements like AI and blockchain could be crucial in achieving this goal. Uwakwe also highlighted a significant gap in language support provided by global tech giants:

“For instance, in Nigeria, Google only offers translation for 3-4 languages (Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa, and Pidgin) out of over 100 languages. The rest are almost dying because software developers lack training models to support them in building new applications.”

However, this situation is not unique to Nigeria; it reflects a broader challenge across many African languages. To address this, Uwakwe advocates for leveraging AI and blockchain technologies to preserve and restore endangered languages.

Related: Nigeria plans nationwide AI and blockchain research centers

By integrating blockchain with AI, communities can be incentivized to speak and document their native languages, earning tokens in the process. These data sets are then used to train AI models to understand and support these languages, ensuring their survival and inclusion in future technological developments.

Nigeria’s path to innovation

Uwakwe’s commitment to this cause is further reinforced by his recent appointment as the LingoAI community ambassador for Nigeria and Africa. As CEO of Sabi Group, Uwakwe has promoted blockchain and Web3 solutions across the continent. 

This isn’t the first time a Nigerian official has advocated for the use of blockchain and AI to improve other areas of society.

On June 30, Olanipekun Olukoyede, the chairman of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, highlighted blockchain technology and artificial intelligence as tools to address illicit financial flows in Africa.

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Written by Amaka Nwaokocha on 2024-07-06 10:09:49.

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