AI proven to be invaluable technology during pandemic – Khaleej Times

Posted: May 2, 2020 at 7:44 pm

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies have proven to be a key factor in helping residents and businesses across the UAE adapt to the new reality of functioning during a pandemic, with experts noting that the rate of adoption of the technology will only accelerate in the coming years.

Jackson Liu, head of the Middle East, North Africa and Europe region at BIGO Technology, told Khaleej Times that AI has been applied widely across the UAE during the Covid-19 outbreak to enhance connectivity such as with chatbots to improve customer service, as well as increasing the efficiency and intelligence of video conferencing platforms and more.

"We believe that AI-driven digital connectivity is not only key to the current situation of social distancing, but will also redefine any economic landscape due to its applications across a variety of sectors and industries," he said. "We are, as a result, constantly innovating our social networking products and AI-driven capabilities to ensure that we will be part of the digital transformation narrative of the UAE and the region."

The UAE's emerging workforce is relatively young and are digital natives, he pointed out. This makes them extremely accepting of how a digital economy and lifestyle can create value for them. "We also see that the UAE is weaving digital and smart technologies into their national fabric. This combined with the digital-first nature of the emerging workforce will certainly maximize the potential of the government and companies which in turn will improve productivity and efficiency, and contribute to achieving the smart city vision of the future."

Jeroen Schlosser, managing director at Equinix MENA, explained that there are a number of areas where AI is already helping to advance positive outcomes in the current pandemic such as disease surveillance and tracking hotspots; detecting infections in travellers and high-risk populations; speeding up diagnoses with automated image analysis; and accelerating drug discovery and vaccine development.

While data sharing may have opened up quite a bit for the Covid-19 outbreak, it is typically a challenge in industries like health and pharma where data is often collected and stored in different places and considered to be highly sensitive, he noted.

"For participants in digital health ecosystems such as providers, insurers, governments, researchers and more to share patient information safely and compliantly, they need an interconnected distributed data architecture. After all, only secure exchange of health data grows will pave the way for medical breakthroughs," he said.

Highlighting how the UAE is accelerating as a digital society, Schlosser said that businesses integrate digital technologies such as AI, machine learning (ML) and the Internet of Things (IoT) to capture data in real-time and generate the insights needed for optimal product and service delivery. "From remote working to online education, from access Over the Top (OTT) streaming services to ordering online groceries, consumers are now seeing AI in action."

He also noted that AI algorithms are an integral part of Smart City initiatives. Using AI and ML, time-consuming bureaucratic processes could be eradicated, interactions between government departments could be improved, and new streams of revenue can be tapped into.

"Smart cities are highly complex and highly interconnected," he said. "A truly smart city requires digital infrastructures that can physically link dispersed sensors, devices and machines that make up public systems, services and experiences, so they can exchange information in real time. It is therefore important for organisations and businesses to ensure there is the digital infrastructure in place to cope with this complex and diverse web of applications, data, content, clouds, networks and people.

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AI proven to be invaluable technology during pandemic - Khaleej Times

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