Understanding Human-Robot Interaction in Nigeria’s Tech Ecosystem



BY Kabir Abdulsalam

It is no longer clear how robots and robotic activities are supposed to be accomplished in the contemporary world of technology and human life.

The need for robots and artificial intelligence (AI) systems is not far off – to provide humans with a unique increase in productivity, improve worker safety and make work more comfortable.
It is therefore expected that the deployment of robots will lead to economic growth and national development.
Several tech startups have proposed ways to create systems that will offer solutions to society’s problems through robotics and other AI activities – from security to health, from education to aviation, from e-commerce to the judicial system, from the financial sector to the media and lifestyle.

For human social robotic systems, modern social robots are designed to interact with humans using a variety of analog sensors, the inputs of which are then converted into digital data that robot programming can meaningfully interpret.

A study by BR Duffy, an American researcher in artificial intelligence, indicates that for a robot to effectively engage in social interactions with humans, the robot must have some degree of anthropomorphic quality, such as eyes, eyelids , lips and other facial features. .

Anthropomorphic qualities refer to the attribution of human characteristics or behaviors to non-human entities/objects, including animals.

While these anthropomorphic qualities can be physical, they can also take the form of behavior, development of facial features and body parts to move, and response to feedback collected from human users.

Recall that Techdigest previously reported that three students from Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba (AAUA) in Ondo State invented a robotic dog to help tackle the escalating problem of insecurity in Nigeria.

The robotic dog has a combination of motion and sound sensors that allows it to bark similar to real dogs when they notice a strange movement or hear a high-pitched sound in their immediate surroundings.

Another robotics innovator, Silas Adekunle created MekaMon, the world’s first intelligent gaming robot for gaming enthusiasts.
The UK-based Nigerian robotics engineer specializes in fusing games and augmented reality to perform real-world functions by revolutionizing the science of robotics.

In addition, a robotics “challenge” was recently organized by the Fowler Memorial College for Girls, Lagos, in collaboration with FIRST, a non-profit organization on the theme: “Lego league and Tech Challenge” to enable young girls to propose solutions to society’s problems through robotics.

Social human-robot interaction

The long-term goal of creating social robots is the skill and ability to help humans, to communicate naturally with people using verbal and non-verbal cues, and to engage humans not only cognitively but also emotionally.

Gws robotic, a robotics company, has amplified the strategic ways in which social robots can be designed and programmed to interact with humans. These include artificial senses, artificial vision, artificial hearing, and artificial touch.

For more responsiveness, the robotics company said, “it will indulge in perceptible responses, mechanical and electrical movements, design and visual styling of the robot’s body, head, and movement mode.”

Thus, social bots are effective in engaging in interaction with people to connect with businesses at a given task.

They can be used in several aspects to reduce human labor in activities such as welcoming guests, providing information to visitors, processing arrivals and reservations, entertaining people, displaying store inventory and the ability to order online, as well as capturing leads and personal information for marketing.

There is no doubt that the quest for a growing global technological revolution and participation in the adoption of new technologies such as robots and robotic activities are essential to human needs both for presence and subsequently for design of future needs.

Nigeria’s supreme IT regulator, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), through its subsidiary, the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR), s is committed to promoting research and development on emerging technologies for practical application in critical sectors.

Along with other key players in the IT ecosystem, it is important for NITDA and NCAIR to maintain their proactive engagement with all stakeholders from academia, public and private sectors to drive innovation in the development of IT systems. AI and robotics.

The NCAIR represents the country’s readiness and commitment to put in place an enabling environment to drive innovation, competitiveness and the large-scale growth of the digital economy.

However, Nigeria is expected to be well positioned to take advantage of the over $30 trillion in revenue expected to flow into the global economy through the deployment of AI, robotics and other technologies. emerging and yet to be created.

Additionally, there is a need for education system planners to integrate robots and robotics into the secondary school curriculum for creative and relevant educational programs that can equip our technology community to thrive in the global technology marketplace.

With this, it is up to young people to take advantage of the many initiatives promoted by NITDA, NCAIR and other robotic centers to come up with smart solutions to problems affecting ordinary citizens and future challenges that may emerge as society continues. to evolve.

Kabir Abdulsalam writes from wuye, Abuja.
Can be reached via [email protected]


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