FG: Partnership with Microsoft will help preserve local languages
The federal government has disclosed that it engaged Microsoft, an American multinational technology company to help use machine learning and artificial intelligence in preserving local languages.
This was contained in a statement released to the effect on Friday by special assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on innovations, Ife Adebayo.
Recall that Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo on Monday announced that the federal government has entered into a partnership with Microsoft to intensify Nigeria’s move to become a more digital economy. The initiative is targeted at improving connectivity, skilling and digital transformation.
Adebayo said democratising access to digital tools and digital skills is a core agenda of the federal government.
Noting that he recently had interactions with Nigerians on what the present administration was doing to further encourage technology innovations, he said indigenous languages would be used in Microsoft products.
According to him, the way one can use Microsoft Word and choose German, Spanish and English, one will also be able to choose Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.
“There is also the engagement with Microsoft to be able to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to preserve Nigeria languages starting with of course, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo. So, we are working with the Institute of Cultural Orientation,” Adebayo said.
“Software developers who are building using Microsoft platforms would be able to build in their languages.”
He explained that the government is interested in providing affordable internet access in rural communities.
“When you look at connectivity within rural areas, within places that are difficult to reach, how can we use Microsoft to be able to provide broadband services in these areas?” he asked.
“How can we use these services to be able to provide education and access to health care services? Because when you look at people who spoke about science and technology being theoretical, this is where this comes in, where we are able to provide reach and access to people who are in difficult-to- reach places.”
He noted that there are available information and communication technology (ICT) centres put in place by the ministry of labour, the ministry of youth and sports development and the ministry of communications and digital economy.
Adebayo said the administration in collaboration with Microsoft is trying to collate all the centres existing in various places in order to maximise their uses.
According to him, this is “so that people within those communities know that they exist and that they are able to claim digital skills from them.”
“This is where we hope to get the five million people that Microsoft will be helping us to train.’’
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