A low proportion of skilled workers and slow download speeds would hurt AI adoption in low- and middle-income countries like Nigeria, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has said.

UNCTAD’s latest report titled ‘How AI chatbots could affect jobs’, produced by the agency’s Technology and Logistics Division director, Shamika Sirimanne, said developing economies generally lagged behind in the adoption of digital technologies.

It revealed that, according to an UNCTAD readiness index that assesses countries’ ability to use, adopt and adapt cutting-edge technologies, developing countries were still struggling with issues such as digital skills and infrastructure, and research and development. .

The report followed in the footsteps of the recently launched ChatGPT, a chatbot created by Open AI for public use.

ChatGPT, which is a natural language processing tool, allows users to interact with the GPT-3 model using natural language. It is trained on a large amount of data, which allows it to generate human-like responses to a wide variety of inputs.

UNCTAD noted that this underscores the growing reach of digital technologies such as AI in everyday working life.

The report said in parts: “Despite the limitations, this type of AI can greatly benefit the productivity of skilled workers.

“Chatbots offer the ability to automate tedious and time-consuming tasks such as writing standardized reports, meeting minutes, and emails. Thus, workers could be freed to focus on more critical and creative tasks. A chatbot virtual personal assistant could guide skilled workers through different projects or production processes.

“You can also generate original content and ideas, and potentially help research and develop new products and services. Additionally, tools like ChatGPT are an attractive and cost-effective option for businesses and individuals looking to use AI capabilities without the need for additional expensive equipment.”

According to the report, most companies and workers in developing countries may not be able to take advantage of the personal use of AI to increase productivity.

He noted that “most high-income countries and some upper-middle-income countries have the greatest potential to benefit from these AI technologies, given that they are above average in the availability of highly-skilled labor and the speed Internet download, as a proxy of the quality of the digital infrastructure.

“At the opposite end of the spectrum, low-income countries and most lower-middle-income countries are in the worst position to take advantage of these technologies, given their low share of skilled workers and relatively slow download speeds.”

The report further stated that developing countries should prepare to benefit from AI by promoting the use, adoption, adaptation and development of the technology.

According to him, the workforce in these countries must be prepared for work in the 21st century by developing digital skills and building and strengthening complementary skills such as complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity.

The report concluded: “Second, we must address those who will lose out in the transition to new ways of working.

“Recycling programs must be part of government policies and programs to address job loss due to new technologies. Lifelong learning initiatives, involving training and retraining of workers, are increasingly the joint responsibility of governments, employers and workers.

“Third, we need to promote inclusion and widely share the benefits of this powerful technology. To do this, we need to promote an open innovation approach to AI, where innovation inputs, methods and results are shared openly with different people who could use them for further innovation.

He also stated that everyone would feel the impact of frontier technologies, “but not everyone is participating equally in defining the path that frontier technologies like AI will follow. It is essential to establish ethical frameworks and regulations for these technologies”.

Meanwhile, in 2022, Nigeria emerged as 150th among the world’s countries in an internet speed ranking. The ranking titled ‘2022 Speedtest Global Index’, published by Ookla, said that Nigeria has a recorded download speed of 9.70 megabits per second for fixed broadband.

South Africa ranked 96th with an average mobile internet download speed of 36.11 Mbps and Egypt ranked 83rd with a speed of 45.46 Mbps.

According to the report, the world benchmark broadband download speed was 69.14 Mbps.