Medicine and healthcare will be the biggest players in the decade to make use of AI
Dubai - While the ME region still lags behind many of its Western counterparts, experts said that there is plenty of evidence of increasing maturity
Artificial Intelligence will be a key element in unlocking the full potential of various untapped opportunities across different sectors such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, experts said at the third edition of Artelligence - The Artificial Intelligence Forum.
Speaking at the second day of the event, experts highlighted how AI technology is already being adopted in various successful operations across the world and helping to improve the quality of life for citizens.
Steve Bennett, director, Public Sector and Financial Services Practice, SAS, explained that AI is critical in making better decisions. "AI supports better decisions by training systems to emulate specific human tasks through learning and automation."
In particular, he noted that there are lots of opportunities for the adoption of AI in the pharma and healthcare sectors. "Take for example, the creation of a vaccine; many times it is a long process that involves lots of testing that result in a hit or miss. Today, AI is being used to guide the treatment of vaccines and this has shortened the time that is needed."
Similarly, Aziz Nazha, director, Center of Clinical AI, Cleveland Clinic, noted that AI is changing lives by advancing cancer research and medicine.
"Medicine will be the biggest player in the decade to make use of AI," he said. "AI can be used to help with cancer diagnosis. This is the most important step, because unless you get the diagnosis right, you will not be able to prescribe the correct treatment. If you identify a disease as high risk, but it ends up running its course as a low risk, then your treatment will be harming your patient. We can use the data collected from patients' blood samples to build algorithms to identify the risk of certain diseases in our patients and then prescribe a treatment."
Speaking on the acceleration of AI adoption across various geographies, Roly Stride, vice president - Middle East and Africa, Darktrace, noted that the technology is an "extremely high priority" for the Middle East region. While the region still lags behind many of its Western counterparts, Stride said that there is plenty of evidence of increasing maturity. He also noted that there are still some factors that pose challenges that need to be addressed.
"There is a lack of adequate and clean data that is vital in order to train machine learning to produce meaningful outputs," he said. "There is also a lack of adequate skills, so attracting international talent, as well as nurturing home grown talent is a must. There are also several regulatory hurdles and roadblocks that need to be addressed."
Despite this, Stride was confident about the future of AI technologies in the region. "There are several incredible initiatives that have been launched, especially in the UAE, and supported by the government. The region is also incredibly dynamic and incredibly well resourced, so it will be able to scale faster on the back of the new and innovative strategies that have been put in place."
Ali Rao, group CEO of Elixir Group, also identified the retail, construction, and manufacturing sectors as those most likely to benefit with the adoption of AI technologies.
"AI requires a focused approach," he said. "Already, we are seeing its adoption in the retail sector to improve customer interaction. There have been many observations about the GCC region trailing behind several countries when it comes to AI adoption, but the reason for this is that many countries have heavily invested in R&D for many years now. In the next five to ten years, the UAE will be doing wonders in this space because the appetite for new technology and its acceptance is very high. That, coupled with the government's focus on being a driver of technology, will help the industry catch up to its Western counterparts."