The terms Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (mL) to a tech neophyte is synonymous with robots wearing human emotions. The latter, when roughly translated, could give a similitude of the concept but lacks the efficacy of what it is all about. Machine learning covers all processes employed to commission a machine to learn on its own, while AI pushes the bar a bit further by programming machines to perform simple tasks smartly.
The combination of both concepts has birthed endless possibilities present in our daily lives, from cyber security, and temperature regulating fans to power surgical robots. But with this advancement dredges up angst in the minds of individuals, as automation of processes would eventually facilitate job losses. A possibility that Nigerian-American Chima Emmanuel Opara, cybersecurity expert and Nigeria’s first iOS mobile developer, addresses on his Twitter handle @blacb.
“I do not think AI will completely take away people’s jobs, let use HR for example – wouldn’t anyone want to stop responding to emails, scheduling meetings, setting reminders, reaching out to stakeholders, when you can automate the HR work for even more effective and more accurate work and also saving you money? The thing is AI is coming, 90% of companies will adopt it, sadly people’s jobs are going to be affected, but that’s just how technology works. The more it evolves, the easier things get.” he explains to Guardian Life.
Opara is a man with many tools in his arsenal. From game creation, comedy, cyber security and currently Artificial intelligence, Opara, who holds a Master’s degree in cybersecurity technology, attribute his ease into the various tech areas to having a level of programming skills including Swift (formerly Objective-C).
He adds, “In order to transition to AI, it is important to grow your experience with languages, security, data engineering, and analysis. Of course, passion plays a huge role. For you to learn something, you must be interested in it, right? You can gauge your level of understanding and your capability to digest the information, especially if it’s new to you. So having a tech background opened up that aspect of getting into Artificial Intelligence and, of course, I am not there yet as I am still learning.”
Despite the offerings of AI and mL, cybercrime such as phishing attacks and malicious hacking are on the rise, leaving companies and individuals to rack up losses as a result of information theft.
Besides his brief stint working in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Opara can relate to this sordid experience after having an encounter with cybercriminals. Speaking about this, he opines that cyber security issues are not a dangerous tool because of their functionality but can be depending on the intentions of a person.
“We should all live in the Metaverse,” Opara tweets. Clearly an enthusiast, he believes that the lack of geographical boundaries has provided an opportunity for everyone, including Nigerian tech companies and enthusiasts, to benefit. This, he says, is particularly important for virtual payment.
“Nigeria tech companies will benefit from prospective customers and purchase can be made from virtually any location. Interactions between customers and employers will be seamless because both parties will be virtually physical in the same space.”
What is in a name?
Curious about the meaning of his Twitter handle, he gives a simple answer: “I am BlacB – which simply means Black Boy. I don’t know how I coined that, but I like it.”