Google: New search Reveals Nigerians Growing Interest in AI

This Week In Tech by Nosa Alekhuogie

This Week In Tech by Nosa Alekhuogie

Tech Top 5 News

Google recently released a new search trend which shows that people in Nigeria are increasingly interested in Artificial intelligence. It reached a record high in 2022 in Nigeria and across the world. The top trending questions in Nigeria included “what is AI art, “what is deep learning in artificial intelligence,” “how to become an AI engineer,” and “when was artificial intelligence invented” – all of which have been searched 5,000 per cent more in 2022 than 2021.
Other searches included “what is artificial intelligence all about” (+370 per cent), “is artificial intelligence a course” (+260 per cent) and “what is artificial intelligence” (+130 per cent).

Google, which views AI as a solution for addressing significant societal challenges like climate change, recently shared their approach to pursuing AI responsibly, including prioritising building and testing for safety and its purpose for the public good.
The President of Google Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Matt Brittin, said, “It’s great to see people in Nigeria showing more of an interest in the transformational technology that is AI. AI is already a key part of many of our lives – in fact, if you use Google tools regularly, you’re probably using AI without even realising: it’s what helps maps give you the fastest or most fuel-efficient route or search to find what you’re looking for. We are continuing to pursue AI boldly and responsibly – creating tools that improve the lives of as many people as possible.”
Google is using AI to address security challenges – including on Gmail, which automatically blocks more than 99.9 per cent of malware, phishing and spam and protects more than 1.5 billion inboxes using AI.

Apple Defying Odds: No Mass Layoff
Apple has defied the storm of inflation and pandemic-related supply chain issues without significantly reducing its workforce.
In recent times, top tech companies have cut tens of thousands of employees combined, defying myths about the industry’s unstoppable growth.
The pandemic has slowed Apple’s headcount growth and continued demand for its core products, so it has not announced any significant reductions to date.
However, some analysts have predicted that modest cost cuts could be coming.
On the tech giant’s quarterly earnings call recently, the iPhone maker acknowledged the company’s hurdles but did not mention cost-cutting, layoffs, or strategy shifts.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, however, told Wall Street analysts on the call that “whatever challenges we face, our strategy is always the same,” including its investments “in innovation, in people.”
While they have not done so yet, like everyone else, they will adjust their headcount for the current level of demand,” he said.
While Apple has not announced layoffs, its business has been strained in other ways. Like other Big Tech companies, it has faced threats of antitrust action in the United States and EU.
Cook spotlighted that there were now two billion active Apple devices and shared that the supply chain issues that hampered the availability of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro Max through the end of last year are now alleviated.

ChatGPT Becomes Fastest Growing App in History
 ChatGPT, which uses AI to generate text, has become the fastest growing Application popular in many fields and for many uses, including writing essays, articles, resumes, and even jokes.
The artificial intelligence made huge headlines after its release in November 2022.
It is estimated to have reached 100 million monthly active users in January, just two months after launch.
According to a new study by UBS Research, it is becoming one of the most popular apps.
“In 20 years following the internet space, we cannot recall a faster ramp in a consumer internet app,” UBS analysts stated.
The large language model-powered artificial intelligence from OpenAI can almost instantly generate paragraphs of human-like, fluid text to answer any prompt you can come up with.

In the research, ChatGPT had 13 million unique visitors per day in January, which is more than double the number in December.
OpenAI has launched ChatGPT Plus, a paid version of the chatbot. It costs $20 per month, offering users access to ChatGPT during peak usage times, faster response times, and priority access to new features.
Microsoft, who was a previous investor in OpenAI, recently invested an additional $10 billion into the company and is said to be working on integrating ChatGPT into some of its services, including Bing. ChatGPT also caught the attention of Google, which is said to be developing several public-facing AI tools of its own.

MTN Nigeria’s Active Fintech Customers Hit 14.9m in 2022
MTN Nigeria has recorded a 57.5 per cent growth in the number of customers using its fintech services in 2022, bringing its total active fintech customer base to 14.9 million.
It disclosed this in its 2022 financial statements and noted that its fintech revenue rose by 19.6 per cent to N84.4 billion in 2022.
The increase was driven by the 18.3 per cent growth in Xtratime, MTN’s airtime lending product, and core fintech services, which includes wallet and super-agent business.

Of the 14.9 million fintech customers, MTN said approximately two million were active MoMo wallet users. The company also disclosed that the number of registered MoMo wallets since the launch in May 2022 was 13.2 million, indicating the underlying momentum in the ecosystem.
The company’s digital revenue for the year also grew by 64.1 per cent as the adoption of its digital products continues to grow with user journey optimisation and the growth of the active base, up 37.5 per cent to 10.3 million.  
Rich media services, mobile advertising, and content VAS continue to drive revenue growth. The company added that its instant messaging platform, Ayoba, also accounted for half of its active users.

Firm Unveils Mobile App to Monitor Political Projects, Bills
A non-partisan organisation, Pichledest, has urged enlightened Nigerians to get involved and engage in the nation’s political decisions to change the status quo.
The CEO, Patrick Imhen, noted this during the unveiling of a mobile application, Poliliod, that will provide Nigerians with political information to help them make informed and intelligent decisions to improve the quality of political leaders.

“The vision is to get at least 80 per cent of elective political offices occupied by competent leaders in the next 17 years of five general elections in Nigeria,” he said.
Imhen, however, highlighted a major challenge confronting the nation for decades now.
“It is poor political leadership. We discovered that about 76 per cent of the electorate during the election were unenlightened Nigerians who cannot make intelligent electoral decisions,” he noted.

The CEO said the mission of the Poliliod app is to get enlightened Nigerians engaged with political activities while also giving them a platform to monitor and participate in governance.

It will avail Nigerians with the candidates from all political parties contesting for positions, including presidential, governorship, senate, federal house of representative, state house of assembly, local government chairman and ward councillors.
“If you ask many enlightened Nigerians today to mention those contesting to represent them in their state and federal constituencies, or which bills are being deliberated or passed in their state house of assembly, they don’t know,” he explained.
According to Imhen, the days of being oblivious will change with the app in place.

“Users will have free access to the profiles of the candidates and rate their competence based on several competency criteria,” he outlined.
Poliliod users can also view various bills being sponsored, deliberated or passed in the various state house of assemblies, the federal house of representatives or the senate and can promote or fault this bill and the press and the legislators can be availed of such vote results.
Other features of the app include monitoring government projects and programmes and the performance rating of elected officers.
“We urge Nigerians everywhere to take advantage of this solution,” the CEO stated.

Tech Personality of The Week:

Ifunanya Chiegboka

This week’s tech personality is Ifunanya Chiegboka.
Ifunanya is a financial technology industry leader with 12 years of experience working at the cross-section of digital business building, expansion in Africa and global emerging markets.
She’s also keen on contributing to research and connecting the different players in the Fintech ecosystem.
Having worked in Flutterwave, I

nterswitch Group, and OPay digital services, three digital payment unicorns in Africa, she has a deep awareness of the digital payments industry in Africa.
Over the years, she dedicated time to publishing newsletters journaling the partnerships, acquisitions, mergers, and funding investments in the African fintech industry.

She contributes to the technology community through publications in the Fintech Nucleus, Business tabloids and speaking at conferences.
As a fintech leader, Ifunanya produced the first-ever comprehensive report on the Nigerian merchant acquiring industry, ‘The State of Play- Web Acquiring Business in Nigeria’.
Recognising her contribution to the fintech sector and opening new markets for fintech companies across Africa, the Hong Kong government awarded her a quality Migrant Status, while the UK government awarded her ‘Global Talent Migrant Leader Status’.

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