During a momentous event at the University of Ibadan’s Trenchard Hall, Professor Mutawakilu Tiamiyu, a retired expert in Data and Information Science, delivered a thought-provoking lecture titled “Odyssey of an Economist in Information Science” to commemorate his 70th birthday and retirement. In his address, Tiamiyu issued a stark warning about the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications, cautioning that while they may seem exciting, they have the potential to disrupt societies.
Describing the current state of affairs, Tiamiyu highlighted that the world stands on the precipice of an AI mega-revolution, the nature and impact of which remain unpredictable. He emphasized the significant advancements in AI software applications, with machines now capable of mimicking and performing almost any human activity, even extending to decision-making based on data analytics. These technological advancements raise questions about their implications for human societies and the potential challenges they may bring.
Reflecting on his distinguished career, Tiamiyu acknowledged his contributions to information science theory, the use of information by decision-makers in the public sector, and the development of curricula for information science education. His work has been instrumental in shaping the field and guiding the understanding of information technology’s role in society.
During the event, messages from dignitaries, including the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and fellow professors, recognized Tiamiyu’s immense contributions to the university and emphasized the importance of maintaining academic excellence despite the challenges faced in recruiting and retaining erudite professors.
As the gathering celebrated Tiamiyu’s remarkable achievements, keynote speaker Tunde Adegbola highlighted the professor’s role in formalizing the development of the capacity to manage the information society in West Africa.
Overall, this occasion served as a reminder of the transformative power of AI and the need for careful consideration of its impact. Tiamiyu’s warning stands as a call to action, urging society to navigate the impending AI revolution with caution, ensuring that its benefits are harnessed while mitigating potential disruptions.