President Dr. Arif Alvi said that emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics and the internet of things (IoT) were poised to unleash the next wave of digital disruption, and industrial sectors should prepare for it.
He expressed these views while chairing a meeting of the Taskforce on Emerging Technologies at the Aiwan-e-Sadr in Islamabad. The meeting was attended by Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and various experts from across the country.
Dynamically evolving information and communication technologies were playing a key role in digital transformation and had crossed sectoral significance in terms of the fourth industrial revolution, the president said.
He highlighted that digitally-enabled transformation had many components, one of which was to continue to invest in the development of important key digital enablers like digital identity, shared data services, shared business processes, technology centers, etc and provide incentives for their use across the public sector.
He said that building an innovation ecosystem was also an essential ingredient. Moreover, the president pointed out that the government is already making efforts to enhance the environment of innovation through different start-ups in emerging technologies. He highlighted that they saw the very significant role of technology companies in building Pakistan’s digital economy.
He said that there were many low hanging fruits and with a collective effort they could yield quick and long-lasting results. The president said that the next decade in Pakistan would be the decade of information and communication technologies revolution based on a futuristic telecom infrastructure, for which Pakistan must have necessary ingredients.
In this regard, he emphasized that digitization of the government, including digital identification machines and voting technology, held special significance. Furthermore, he suggested that cyber tools and apps must also be incorporated into education, health and population planning, biotechnology, and security.
Emerging technologies are penetrating all sectors of modern life. Investment in artificial intelligence is increasing and it is estimated that tech giants spent $20 to $30 billion on AI in 2016, with 90% of this spent on research and development and deployment, and 10% on Al acquisitions.
In terms of blockchain, the top 10 causes of the public sector use were; digital currency payments, land registration, electronics voting, identity management, supply chain traceability, healthcare, proxy voting, corporate registration, taxation, and entitlements management.