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The pros and cons of Artificial Intelligence in Pakistan

Prospects

It is a fact that after the tremendous growth in mobile internet, artificial intelligence will soon become the largest future outlet. AI or artificial intelligence – is the science that governs, controls, regulates, and connects all other fields in the world, be they sciences, faculties of engineering, technology, education, or even business. Countries and industries around the globe have been using information technology to develop their businesses by gaining unprecedented expansion. And thanks to new tech startup businesses like Workmatec, Kazola, Botsify, Dcube, Red Buffer, TechinAsia, CricFlex, Farmer’s Lab & Mountainise etc., Pakistan, too, can now benefit from the cutting-edge technologies of artificial intelligence and machine learning to further their causes – i.e. business intelligence, business process management, conversion rate sales optimization, sales, profits, and, above all, reach a customized experience of successful customer journey. Next phase will combine the power of artificial intelligence in blockchain industry as well as for cyber security.

NIRF (National ICT R&D Fund) has been using its platform to promote research culture in Pakistan through funding R&D projects. Below is a list of few projects which have in one or the other way used AI techniques and algorithms to develop a solution.

  1. Electricity theft control with real-time billing framework utilizing information communication technologies.
  2. A secure and intelligent transportation system using wireless sensors for congestion control.
  3. Automatic surveillance system for video streams.

AI is the next key technology enabler, comparable to mobile phones and the internet before it. Indeed, AI is similar to electricity promising to revolutionize one industry after another. Today big giants like Google, IBM, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook moving in that very direction to achieve similar kinds of intelligence in machines and the world as of now is evolving to a stage where intelligent software and machines will think the way a human brain does, acting in accordance with human behavior.

Apple enjoyed the first crack with Siri, Google moved fast with Google Now, Amazon has Alexa, Facebook has its Chabot, IBM is investing heavily in Watson and Microsoft rushed to market with Cortana. Right from a smartphone app that recommends a nearby fast food restaurant, to recognizing characters from an image, to Facebook’s photo tagging Algorithm that detects your face, to creating driverless vehicles, AI is everywhere and is deeply embedded in our lives without us realizing it.

 

Consequences

Real-world application of robots has people worried about losing their jobs now. But throughout history we have seen that whenever something new comes along it may make some professions less popular but then there are new professions that come into demand while creating new openings. Other things that are equally or perhaps more worrisome for humans include data mining, deface technology, etc. There is Facebook, Cambridge Analytica, the world’s biggest social network, at the centre of an international scandal involving voter data, the 2016 US presidential election and Brexit. There are smart programs that can analyze facial expressions to know one’s personality. But if only a few have access to such tools then it will be just like nuclear technology, which can be misused by those who have access to it.

Way forward

The time may not be far when AI devices will carry out the analysis of the human body; the illness will be also diagnosed and cured in the same way. The entire body checkup will be done within a few minutes and reports will be automatically compiled. This is just one example from health sector; these innovations will bring benefits to several sectors, and to society as a whole. Al is going to change our lives for the better as machines learn, reason, act and adapt — transforming industries by amplifying human capabilities, automating tedious tasks, and solving some of our most challenging societal problems. Thus, if machines can process huge amount of historical and real-time data and learn over time to get better and better, the power of AI is nothing short of magical, bringing a lot of positives for human mankind.

The writer is a Karachi based freelance columnist and is a banker by profession. He could be reached on Twitter @ReluctantAhsan

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