“The impossible can happen – Follow the Rainbow” – Le Kwan Yew. Yes, Nigeria can positively make the impossible happen, even with the threat of COVID-19. If we put our mind to it; we can become one of the world’s best innovators and enviable technology destination.
But not through the illusionary fixation from a mind-set that promotes the myth that moribund institutions and analogue leadership model will transform Nigeria technologically! The definition of institution can be complexly deceptive; especially if it is viewed only from the physical infrastructure standpoint. Indeed, ideas are and remain the greatest institutions rooted and fired by commitment to scientific education. To believe that our development institutional framework will forever remain as they currently are; is to state the least, not only stupid but criminal.
To institutionalize sustainable development strategy and coherent management, we must begin with constructive and high-quality education. This confirms why, for example, in South Korea; the best five (5) graduates are drafted as teachers to their Primary schools! But what is our education institution (idea) model?
This must form a significant aspect of our deep-thinking model. My plea is, please, let’s follow the rainbow, ride its crest and dig and distribute the gold together. There are lots of brilliant minds and ideas in our nation. There is need to apply merit to find and fuse them together to fire the imaginative potential and Moon-shot vision. That is whom we are and should demonstrate we can.
Since the future wind even in a post COVID-19 world is being blown and directed by Software; it is obligatory on the nation to power the urgent need for the establishment of a National Software Commission; as well as Specialized Institutes of Software Engineering.
Global events determined by COVID-19 over the last four months have acknowledged that technology is the future saviour of wise nations. And that, the mastery and control of Software is critical for future life. Why do we classify it a foolish idea for Nigeria to imagine and promote the establishment of a Federal Ministry of Infrastructure? Is it because other nations don’t have them apart from Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructure? Does it imply that, because other nations don’t have a University of Infrastructure maintenance; so, we shouldn’t dream about it, when it constitutes the weakest link in our development chain?
Indeed, what makes it hard for us to codify mathematics of Technology and Software equations to mean “survive or perish”?
So, what are those emerging technologies of the future than those we know today? Can the same institutional framework effectively drive emerging technologies? Will nations with moribund agencies withstand and survive the tsunamic force of disruptive emerging technologies? What is the role of Software in the future Technology-of-Things–(ToT)?
Let’s find out.
Today, many African nations – led by Nigeria (?) treasure an illusion; that technology is just the physical product that can be easily acquired and consumed and therefore; there is no need for research. Better still, that investment in research in pursuit of technology/innovation is a huge waste of time and money! Such mind-set only magnifies the fallacy that fuels our illusions.
That is, ‘technology will happen by itself. Therefore, promoting Software Nigeria with today’s investment and required legislation to accelerate its efficacy; protect our IP and secure the future of ‘Generation Next’ are tales by the moonlight – from tech-dreamers! How do we move forward – post COVID-19 – without retooling the knowledge dynamisms of our nation; which are mathematically fathomed by the mastery of Science of Software?
The frank interpretation of the above is this. Some of the existing institutional framework are incapable of weathering the foreseeable storms expected from the emerging technologies; unless we mobilize Nigeria’s best brains (by merit) to converge, design and build a tech-enabled future for the nation. The DNA of emerging technologies championed by AI-Big Data shows that it possesses the killer-punch-capability to take digital hostage of nations. That is, without firing a shot from the barrel of a gun.
This, amongst other cogent reasons, is why Space Colonialization is big on the tech missions of the world.
2050 promises to be an awesome year in the annals of tech history; with extraordinary accomplishments beyond our current imagination! So will the projected number of 400million population for our nation – thirty years from now. I believe that in 30 years, we can significantly turn around this nation to the awe of humanity. After all, thanks to Le Kwan Yew; Singapore is a living example of the capability of the human mind to vision; dream big and meaningfully conjure change forever.
Now, what are these emerging technologies and how do we prepare post COVID-19? Food comes first, so it is logical to focus first on Agriculture. Most internet research white papers agree that Agricultural Robots and Drones are now undergoing intensive research; trial and further development. Others in this category are: Cultured meat processing, Greenhouse Biosphere, Vertical farming, etc. There are many other sectors like Medicine, Aviation, Transportation, Construction, Banking and Finance, etc.; being invaded by intensive research like locust.
But, since our mission is in emerging tech and innovation cycle in ICT; does it not trouble our vision that we do not have a super-computer in Nigeria; especially one to overshadow our Quantum Computing analytics problems and find solutions to them? Identifiable projects currently in their hypothetical, experimental, research, prototype design, testing and/or preliminary commercialization stages include but not limited to; Digital Scent Technology, Biometrics, E-textiles, Flexible Electronics, 4D Printing etc.
Energy is another critical area and concern for the nation; especially when we take time to imagine the energy crisis of the future when nuclear energy becomes problematic. Therefore, another area that should interest our nations in Africa is Energy. Power and electricity is the bedrock of human development.
Indeed, a lot of research is happing in this emerging technologies sector. They are as follows: Wireless Energy Transfer, Zero Energy Building, Airborne wind turbine, Artificial Photosynthesis, Concentrated Solar Power; Cryogenic Treatment, Electric double-layer capacitor, Energy harvesting, Flywheel energy storage, Fusion Power; Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion, Magnesium Battery and a host of others (Wiki).
Over the years, microchip implant activities have been in progress. Today, advanced research and experiments are being intensified to battle the scourge of viruses pandemic and Bacteria. Looking at the galaxy of the above entities of interrelated digital challenges, proactive interventions are required. Most contingent is to recognise that the epicentre of the challenge in a post COVID-19 world is Software skill-centric.
Further, conventional wisdom dictates that there is an urgent need for action. Specifically, to foster and promote enabling legislations for establishment of a National Software Commission and Specialized Software Engineering Institutes (SEI); to accelerate our digital mission. The misleading maxim that Nigeria as the single largest concentration of people of African descent does not possess the intellectual ability to catch a mouse (develop Software) is a blinded fallacy.
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Yes, we can. And time is now!
Our candid response to those who spread that infectious fallacy should be; “It doesn’t matter if the CAT is black or white, it will catch a mouse.” All that is needed is put our mind and willpower to it. We must either catch the technology mouse or die. There is no two ways to embrace science and develop technology than to power our equation; listen to our innate mind, devour our illusionary fears and forge ahead to our destiny.
So, we must put on our conscious thinking cap and somersault this illusion; that which holds that the Black man cannot invent and create technology (which historically they already did); but only to consume them.
Nigeria, beware! Software will either drown or safe our nation’s future. Let’s urgently follow the Rainbow. The time for a National Software Commission has come.