Oman: AI backbone of 4th industrial revolution

TIMES OF OMAN | August 13, 2018

Muscat: Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is the backbone of the 4th industrial revolution, according to Dr Salim bin Sultan Alruzaiqi, CEO of the Information Technology Authority (ITA). It is estimated that by 2035, AI will double the annual economic growth rate of countries, which adopt its technologies, he added.

Alruzaiqi was speaking at the 4.0 Digital Trends Forum under the patronage of Dr Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Futaisi, Minister of Transport and Communications, and a number of IT professionals, specialists and academics, in Salalah.

"Through this forum, we aim to shed light on the latest trends in AI applications and their implications on addressing many of the issues and challenges facing humanity. In addition, the forum is an opportunity to encourage IT specialists, entrepreneurs and organisations towards research and innovation in AI,” he said.

“Technologies such as AI, blockchain, Internet of Things (IOT), virtual reality (VR) and the ability to employ these technologies are the key elements on which countries’ abilities to achieve growth, progress and prosperity will depend," he said.

We see real economic returns from employing the fourth industrial revolution’s technologies, which ultimately will impact economic sectors, government and private organisations. For example, it is expected that the fourth industrial revolution technologies will add approximately US$3.7 trillion worldwide in 2025 as an additional economic value through increased productivity," Alruzaiqi said.

"ITA also predicts that the savings from the implementation of four AI projects in eGovernment transformation will be equivalent to OMR18 million in four years,” he added.

The event sessions and papers were delivered by prominent international and local speakers.

Dr Ayesha Khanna, Co-Founder and CEO of ADDO AI, discussed the automation and future of work with AI. In her paper, she said, “AI is so critical to the Hybrid Age that it is becoming a strategy at the national level for many countries. Technology is becoming cheaper and can be owned by the majority; therefore, many businesses are now employing it.”

"According to statistics published by economists, 47 per cent of jobs will be replaced by robots, so people should be more aware today of the specialisations and future careers they choose,” Khanna said in the paper.

Dr Amjad Zaim, Cognitro Analytics’ CEO, spoke about AI sustainability, highlighting challenges facing AI and big data, and introduced a health digital strategy for AI.

“AI will spread rapidly in most sectors and the transport sector is one of the areas that will benefit greatly from AI, where there will be self-driving cars which detect all objects on their way,” he said.

On the sidelines of the forum, a discussion session was held, moderated by Khalid bin Alsafi Alharibi, founder of Impact Enterprise, as well as the speakers, and with the participation of Dr Bader bin Salim Almanthari, VP, Technology and Digital Innovation at Oman Aviation Group, through which they discussed the challenges that can be faced while implementing AI and the proposed solutions.

It is worth mentioning that this forum was organised as part of ITA’s efforts in realising the objectives of the e.oman strategy to transfer Oman into a knowledge-based society and bridging digital illiteracy.

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