Artificial intelligence (AI) is a term coined by emeritus Stanford Professor John McCarthy. It is the science and engineering of making intelligent machines that can learn, at least somewhat like human beings do. AI has achieved an inflection point and is poised to transform every industry. A new report by Grand View Research projects that the global artificial intelligence market will reach USD390.9 billion by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 46.2 percent by that time. Integrating artificial intelligence across various applications is a significant market driver.
This article takes a step back to consider how AI is assured to fundamentally restructure broader spheres of our economy and society over the next decade, with some conspicuous predictions.
Pakistan’s agriculture sector has been hampered by archaic practices, especially in irrigation and resource management, leading to a downward trend in production. Big economies like the US, China, India, and Brazil are investing heavily in agricultural AI with the goal of increasing food production and improving food security. AI in agriculture has the potential to increase yields, reduce inputs, and improve decision-making.
In the US, startups such as Blue River Technology and Climate Corporation have been working on precision agriculture applications for many years. In India, the government is working on a project to use machine learning to predict crop yields, and in Brazil, Ag-Tech companies are using AI to help farmers combat deforestation.
Pakistani farmers are already using AI to detect crop pests and diseases, map fields, and forecast weather conditions, but there is a need for huge investment in agriculture AI to increase food production and improve food security. The agriculture sector wastes half the water it uses while using up 70 percent of the country’s freshwater resources. To ensure optimum water usage, we need advanced technological solutions.
Although there are some challenges to using AI in agriculture, such as data quality and availability, computing power and storage requirements, and a lack of skilled personnel, with continued investment and development, these challenges can be swamped.
Fostering AI in the healthcare sector is expected to bring many benefits, such as collecting relevant and accurate data on patients and those seeking treatment. Pakistan is preparing trained manpower to handle machines that process data faster and make decisions faster than human beings. A state-of-the-art Center for Artificial Intelligence in Health Sciences is being set up at Karachi University with the cooperation of the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Sciences.
AI can also help healthcare facilities and medical organizations reduce operating costs and save money. Conclusively, the most important impacts of AI will be felt in patient care. As providers gain a better understanding of information across medical facilities, personalized treatment plans and drug protocols will transform the delivery of patient care. Moreover, AI in logistics can have a significant impact on operations by predicting inventory requirements, reducing overhead costs, and digitizing documents. Block-chain technology can be used to validate digital assets, allowing shipments to be tracked more accurately and reducing time spent at ports, improving supply chain economics, and profiting the global shipping industry.
According to the World Economic Forum, two-thirds of jobs could be lost due to automation in the developing world, which could have a significant impact on the population and stability of the government in Pakistan. To address this, Pakistan should train its workforce and increase its investment in AI. NCAI is a revolutionary initiative that aims to become a leading hub of innovation, scientific research, knowledge transfer to the local economy, and training in the area of AI and its closely affiliated fields. Pakistan has over 600,000 IT professionals, 17,000 software companies providing services to over 120 countries, and $3 billion in IT export revenue last year. However, the number of companies and startups providing services and building products in the AI space is relatively small. To bridge the industry-academia gap and motivate the youth to pursue research and education in AI, we must train some of our existing 600,000 IT professionals in AI and create more center like NCAI.
In the end, I tried to cover all the possible impacts AI can have on our future. Indeed, the future of AI is bright, yet there are difficulties, including managing a worldwide independent arms race and determining who is responsible when an autonomous car strikes a pedestrian. There is no doubt that AI will have a transformative impact on the economy, legal system, political system, and regulatory system, but achieving all of the benefits on a global scale will have profound implications for discussion and planning. AI will significantly shape our future, but we will likely face challenges related to its unpremeditated consequences. Further, Pakistan should focus on investing in science and technology education and increase investment in AI to ensure its long-term security.
The writer is an economic analyst