Role of artificial Intelligence in knowledge economy is important

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain Wednesday emphasized the critical importance of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the modern era and its role in digital transformation, knowledge economy and development of smart cities.

The minister was speaking, as a chief guest, at the concluding of three-day IEEE International Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ICAI) hosted by National Centre of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) at National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST).

The conference was virtually attended by participants from all over the world, including the United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Estonia, United Arab Emirates, Norway, Bangladesh etc.

NCAI is one of the four centres of excellence established by the Government of Pakistan in Pakistani universities, and two of these – NCAI and National Centre of Robotics and Automation (NCRA) – are headed by NUST.

Speaking on the occasion, the federal minister asserted that at present the concept of smart cities remains a novel idea in Pakistan, stressing the need for its comprehensive understanding.

Highlighting the wide prospects of AI in developing Smart Cities, he praised the lead role of NCAI in fostering AI-related Research and Development (R&D) in Pakistan with an emphasis on indigenous technology development for the industry.

He further emphasized the significance of 5G, AI and drone technology, vis-à-vis aiding struggling farmers to improve crop yield, and, in so doing, contributing to the economic growth of the country.

The conference covered emerging trends in AI, including Autonomous Systems, Assistive Robotics, Intelligent Systems, Convolutional Neural Networks, Cyber security in AI, Data Fusion, Data Mining & Information Retrieval, Decision Support Systems, Artificial Neural Networks, Biologically-inspired Neural Networks, Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare, Natural Language Processing, Speech Understanding, AI Chip and Neurocomputation, Smart City, Intelligent Robotics and AI Ethics/Regulations.

Besides, the conference explored topics related to Deep Learning, particularly Big Data Analytics, Cyber security, Forensics, Real Time Systems and Social Networks.

Keynote speakers at the opening ceremony were Dr Raheel Nawaz from Manchester Metropolitan University (UK), and M. Jenssen Chang, CEO and founder of Gaitech Robotics (China), who iterated his expertise by speaking on specialized AI and Robotics applications for Smart Cities and industries.

NUST Pro-Rector Research, Innovation and Commercialisation AVM Dr Rizwan Riaz, SI(M), also addressed the audience and extolled NCAI for taking this remarkable initiative to hold the conference.

Emphasizing the role of such events in the country’s technical progress, he expressed his confidence that ICAI would be a turning point in the projection and emergence of new AI technologies in Pakistan.

The conference was held under the flag of NCAI with the technical co-sponsorship of IEEE (USA) and IEEE Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) Pakistan.

ICAI 2021 is set to be the first in a series of research conferences, which will be held annually, bringing together researchers and industry professionals from all over Pakistan.

Earlier, the conference was opened by Dr Yasar Ayaz, Chairman NCAI and Professor at NUST School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (SMME), who was also the Conference/General Chair of ICAI 2021.

He highlighted the achievements of NCAI including the establishment of nine research labs spread across 6 universities in Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi, working on development of AI solutions both for the Public and Private sector in Pakistan.

He mentioned that out of the 149 research papers submitted to ICAI 2021 from all over the world, only 47 research papers were chosen after a rigorous review process by field experts with the acceptance rate of 31.5% which emphasizes the high quality of papers accepted by the conference.