Workforce ‘needs to be familiarised with AI tech’

BAHRAIN’S workforce needs to be familiarised with the most recent Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology concepts, experts have said.

In a virtual conference entitled Artificial Intelligence and Development in the Middle East and Africa, organised by the International Peace Institute (IPI) Middle East and North Africa (Mena) branch in Bahrain, experts discussed the socio-economic potential of AI and its ability to boost the region’s sustainable development goals.

“With advancement in technology and computing, there will be a huge push for AI globally,” said Dr Shaikha Eshaa Mohammed Al Khalifa, founder of SayG, a technology solutions company.

“There is an increased awareness in the private sector regarding this technology. There are a number of companies that are trying to integrate AI into their products, or the technology into their security programmes.

“There is at least one company that has integrated AI in translating into Arabic.”

Dr Shaika Eshaa was among the speakers who elaborated on AI integration and usage in financial technology (Fintech) companies yesterday.

“What AI can do is collect huge volumes of data and detect patterns within it,” she added.

“We can use AI to read the behavioural patterns of a company’s workers so that when a hacker infiltrates the firm, the AI can detect and indicate an unusual behaviour in the system which is not in accordance with that of the company’s employees.”

However, she also highlighted the flipside of the technology.

“AI works by generalisation while collecting data, it hence reinforces only the popular opinion,” she said.

“If the data is inclined to that specific trend, it will highlight that bias – no matter what its moral and ethical implications.”

Royal University for Women president Yusra Mouzughi highlighted the need to impart knowledge on artificial intelligence to all professions that have access to it.

“I believe that all industries are looking for technology specialists within their line of work,” added Ms Mouzughi.

“We may need accountants who are experienced in AI, or lawyers who know the processes to understand their case, or artists who are up to date with the latest graphic design programmes and related technologies.

“The technology is becoming so crucial that we have to integrate AI as a core discipline in our schools.”

By keeping themselves updated on the latest technological advancements, students would increase their chances of getting employed.

The conference expanded on the need for Mena countries to focus on AI technology and integrate it in both public and private sectors.

Bahrain has recognised the importance of AI and currently deploys it in courtrooms as part of the digital transformation. AI is also implemented in the field of agriculture for automatic monitoring of date palms.

An annual hackfest for students was launched by the Supreme Council for Youth and Sports first deputy chairman Shaikh Khalid bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Bahrain has also implemented smart traffic control systems and is working towards a smart cities mega project.




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