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Friday May 24, 2024

The world of AI

AI has proved to be a game changer its myriad applications range from predictive analytics for disease diagnosis to personalized treatment plans

By Atta-ur-Rahman
January 17, 2024
A visitor watches an AI sign on an animated screen at the Mobile World Congress, the telecom industry’s biggest annual gathering, in Barcelona. — AFP/File
A visitor watches an AI sign on an animated screen at the Mobile World Congress, the telecom industry’s biggest annual gathering, in Barcelona. — AFP/File

Artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a huge transformative force that is reshaping the landscape of various fields and industries. Its adaptive and analytical capabilities have led to major advancements in technology, science, healthcare, finance, and many other sectors.

In healthcare, AI has proved to be a game changer. Its myriad applications range from predictive analytics for disease diagnosis to personalized treatment plans. Technologies like ‘IBM Watson’ for oncology assist cancer specialists in developing tailored treatment strategies based on patient data and medical literature.

‘AlphaFold’predicts protein folding, significantly advancing our understanding of biological structures. It is now being widely employed for drug discovery and disease understanding. ‘BioMind’ – developed for medical image analysis, particularly in neurology – assists in diagnosing neurological disorders by analyzing medical imaging data, such as MRI scans, and identifying patterns indicative of specific conditions. ‘DeepMind Health’ is finding applications for medical image analysis, patient monitoring and predicting patient deterioration.

AI is transforming education too through adaptive learning platforms, like ‘DreamBox’, which personalize learning experiences for students. Additionally, AI tools aid in automating administrative tasks, allowing educators to focus more on personalized instruction.

Lawyers can now benefit from ‘ROSS’, an AI-powered legal research tool that utilizes natural language processing to find relevant legal information. ‘GPT-3’, developed by OpenAI, is a powerful language model that has applications in natural language understanding, translation, and content generation.

‘AtomNet’, developed by Google subsidiary DeepMind, is an AI tool that employs deep learning to analyze molecular structures and optimize material design for various applications. ‘Eureqa’, developed by Nutonian, automates the process of data modeling. The combinatorial and high-throughput experimental and efficient tool for materials science (CHEETAH) is being used to accelerate the discovery of new materials.

The ‘Allen Integrated Cell’ developed by the Allen Institute for Cell Science analyzes high-content cellular images, identifying and tracking cellular structures over time. This helps researchers understand cell behavior and dynamics. ‘TensorFlow’ and ‘PyTorch’ are popular open-source machine learning frameworks used for image classification, natural language processing, and creating custom machine learning models tailored to specific scientific applications.

In the manufacturing sector, AI is optimizing processes through predictive maintenance, quality control, and supply chain management. ‘Siemens’ Industrial AI’, for instance, predicts equipment failures, reducing downtime and improving overall operational efficiency.

AI-driven robotics also contribute to automation, enhancing precision and speed in manufacturing processes. In the automotive industry, AI is at the forefront of the development of autonomous vehicles. Companies like ‘Waymo’ are employing deep learning and computer vision to enable vehicles to navigate safely, making decisions in real-time. AI-driven predictive maintenance also enhances the efficiency of vehicle management, reducing downtime and maintenance costs.

Retailers can now utilize AI for inventory management, personalized marketing, and customer service. Recommendation engines analyze customer preferences, thereby increasing sales through personalized product suggestions. ‘Salesforce Einstein’, an AI platform for customer relationship management, enhances retailers’ ability to understand and engage with their customers.

‘HireVue’ uses AI in talent assessment, analyzing video interviews to help companies make informed hiring decisions. ‘IBM Watson for Media’ is helping to transform the entertainment industry by analyzing content using AI. It helps media companies understand audience preferences, optimize content creation, and enhance overall audience engagement.

Recommendation engines use AI algorithms to analyze customer behavior, preferences, and historical data to suggest products or services tailored to individual users.

AI has revolutionized financial services, powering algorithmic trading, fraud detection, and personalized financial advice. Quantitative analysis tools, such as QuantConnect, leverage machine learning to analyze market trends and optimize investment strategies. Chatbots and virtual assistants handle routine customer queries, enhancing customer service in the finance sector.

AI tools are crucial for detecting and preventing fraudulent activities in commerce. Machine learning algorithms analyze transaction patterns, user behaviour, and other relevant data to identify potentially fraudulent activities in real-time.

AI-driven price optimization tools analyze market dynamics, competitor pricing, and customer behaviour to dynamically adjust prices for maximum profitability. This allows businesses to stay competitive, respond to market changes, and optimize pricing strategies in real time.

AI is extensively utilized in cyber warfare for both offensive and defensive purposes. Automated tools can identify vulnerabilities in enemy systems, launch sophisticated attacks, and protect military networks from cyber threats. AI enhances the speed and efficiency of cyber operations, making it crucial in the modern battle space.

In the realm of cybersecurity, AI is playing a critical role in threat detection and prevention. ‘Darktrace’ employs AI algorithms to identify anomalies in network behaviour, enabling real-time response to potential cyber threats.

Autonomous drones, equipped with AI algorithms, have become integral in reconnaissance, surveillance, and even offensive operations. These drones can independently navigate, identify targets, and execute missions without direct human intervention. For instance, the ‘MQ-9 Reaper’ is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that employs AI to analyze sensor data, identify threats, and make split-second decisions.

AI-powered facial recognition technology is employed for identifying individuals on the battlefield. This tool can help soldiers quickly distinguish between friendly and hostile forces, improving situational awareness.

Swarm intelligence involves the coordination of multiple autonomous systems, such as drones or robotic vehicles, to perform collaborative tasks. AI algorithms enable these swarms to communicate, share information, and adapt to changing situations in real-time.

ATR systems use AI to analyze sensor data and identify potential targets. These systems provide real-time insights, helping leaders make well-informed decisions during complex and dynamic situations. The ‘Joint All-Domain Command and Control’ (JADC2) initiative in the US military exemplifies efforts to integrate AI into decision-making processes across different domains.

AI technologies are transforming agriculture through precision farming. Blue river technology uses computer vision and machine learning to optimize crop management. Drones equipped with AI analyze field data and can provide farmers with insights into crop health, thereby helping optimize resource usage, and improving yields.

AI is also contributing to energy optimization through smart grid management and predictive maintenance. Google’s ‘DeepMind’ applies AI to wind farms, predicting wind patterns to optimize turbine efficiency. This leads to increased energy output and a more sustainable approach to energy production.

Artificial intelligence therefore stands as a powerful force, permeating virtually every facet of human endeavour. In Pakistan, a major project was prepared to establish AI centres across the country. Two such centres are now being established in the International Centre for Chemical and Biological Studies (ICCBS) at the University of Karachi and in the Pak Austrian University of Applied Science and Technology (Pak-Austria Fachhochschule) in Haripur, Hazara.

The concept of a Rs40 billion project for a network of many other such centres has been approved through our efforts by the Ministry of IT and Telecom. This is another important initiative of the technology driven knowledge economy task force, and it needs to be implemented urgently.


The writer is the former federal minister for science and technology and former founding chairman of the HEC. He can be reached at: ibne_sina@hotmail.com