Why AI is dawn­ing in the Mid­dle East

Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence is chang­ing ev­ery­thing – as well as revi­til­is­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in the re­gion.

Comms MEA - - Top 30 Suppliers - About the au­thor Charles Yang, pres­i­dent of Huawei Mid­dle East

AI is a pow­er­ful en­gine that drives in­dus­try dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. The fun­da­men­tal char­ac­ter­is­tics of the tech­nol­ogy is its abil­ity to au­tonomously ex­pand its ca­pa­bil­i­ties by sens­ing, un­der­stand­ing, act­ing and learn­ing. This char­ac­ter­is­tic is cre­at­ing new ex­pe­ri­ences across in­dus­tries and or­gan­i­sa­tions, from com­puter-aided di­ag­no­sis tech­niques to fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions, smart lo­gis­tics, and more. AI is re­vi­tal­is­ing in­dus­try growth and prof­itabil­ity; it is also hav­ing a so­cial im­pact by im­prov­ing the de­liv­ery of pub­lic goods like health­care, en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity, and ed­u­ca­tion.

To max­imise the po­ten­tial of AI, at Huawei we are com­mit­ted to in­vest­ing in ma­chine learn­ing that is data and power-ef­fi­cient (i.e., less data, com­put­ing, and power needed), se­cure and trusted, and au­to­mated and au­tonomous. We be­lieve these char­ac­ter­is­tics have enor­mous po­ten­tial to max­imise ef­fi­ciency and open new venues of growth and in­no­va­tion.

We made a ma­jor break­through at Huawei Con­nect 2018, which was the stage for the global launch of our rev­o­lu­tion­ary AI chipset se­ries. Our AI port­fo­lio now in­cludes our new As­cend se­ries of AI chips – the world’s first AI IP and chip se­ries de­signed for a full range of sce­nar­ios. The port­fo­lio also in­cludes new prod­ucts and cloud ser­vices that are built on As­cend chip ca­pa­bil­i­ties. By launch­ing our full-stack AI port­fo­lio in the re­gion, we aim to pro­vide per­va­sive in­tel­li­gence whose im­pact will re­ver­ber­ate cross all ver­ti­cal sec­tors, and build a fully con­nected, in­tel­li­gent world.

As pres­i­dent of Huawei Mid­dle East, I’m proud to say that this re­gion was one of the first glob­ally to im­port these chips. Just a week af­ter our ro­tat­ing chair­per­son Eric Xu an­nounced the global launch of Huawei’s AI strat­egy, as well as our full-stack, allsce­nario AI port­fo­lio, we in­tro­duced these prod­ucts here in the Mid­dle East on the side­lines of GITEX 2018.

Our part­ners and cus­tomers re­sponded with great en­thu­si­asm to the launch. We were hon­oured to be joined by prom­i­nent in­dus­try ex­perts and govern­ment lead­ers at our AI con­fer­ence, held on the side­lines of Huawei Mid­dle East’s 3rd An­nual In­no­va­tion Day at GITEX. The at­ten­dees in­cluded the guest of hon­our and keynote speaker, H.E. En­gi­neer Mothanna Ham­dan Gharaibeh, Jor­dan’s Min­is­ter of ICT, and other lead­ers who came to strate­gise on the best path for­ward to bring­ing AI to the Mid­dle East.

We or­gan­ised the con­fer­ence to foster a dis­cus­sion on how the Mid­dle East can best po­si­tion it­self to ben­e­fit from the im­mi­nent ar­rival of AI, and the strong in­ter­est of key play­ers is a highly en­cour­ag­ing sign. Clearly the re­gional lead­er­ship sees the press­ing need to de­velop a na­tional AI strat­egy, and recog­nises that AI is vi­tal to the suc­cess of na­tional de­vel­op­ment plans and vi­sions to be­come di­ver­si­fied, knowl­edge-based economies.

I firmly be­lieve that the Mid­dle East has all the in­gre­di­ents it needs to be suc­cess­ful in the age of AI: a young, tal­ented pop­u­la­tion, vi­sion­ary and for­ward-think­ing lead­er­ship, and a drive to in­no­vate and de­velop. Again and again we have seen that our part­ners and cus­tomers in the re­gion recog­nise the value of adopt­ing tech­nol­ogy to drive growth, and we are con­fi­dent that AI will bring noth­ing but con­tin­ued progress and suc­cess to or­gan­i­sa­tions in the re­gion.

Hu­man­ity should be proud of the progress we have made to­wards AI in the past years, but there is still a way to go. To con­tin­u­ously drive for­ward the AI in­dus­try, we have pledged US$140 mil­lion in AI tal­ent ed­u­ca­tion. Glob­ally, we just launched our AI De­vel­oper En­able­ment Pro­gramme, and we will soon bring the pro­gramme to this re­gion.

The ini­tia­tive will help Huawei col­lab­o­rate with de­vel­op­ers, part­ners, uni­ver­si­ties, and re­search in­sti­tu­tions. We will use the pro­gramme to build a bet­ter de­vel­op­ment ecosys­tem that can sup­port AI re­sources, plat­forms, cour­ses, and joint so­lu­tions.

AI-driven tech­nolo­gies prom­ise to trans­form so­ci­ety in a way not seen since the In­dus­trial Revo­lu­tion. Nat­u­rally, it will take work to get there. All progress re­quires early ex­plor­ers to take the first bold steps into the un­known. Yet I am con­fi­dent that by con­tin­u­ous in­vest­ment in re­search and de­vel­op­ment, and tire­less train­ing of ICT tal­ent, we are cre­at­ing a gen­er­a­tion ready to lead hu­man­ity into the age of ro­bot­ics.

AI is an im­por­tant com­po­nent of a larger tale of dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion. We are liv­ing through an epoch in which ICT is im­pact­ing ev­ery per­son, home, and or­gan­i­sa­tion, re­defin­ing how we live, work, and learn. In this great age, Huawei as­pires to be a great com­pany. We want to help hu­mankind take the next stride into a fully con­nected and in­tel­li­gent world.

I firmly be­lieve that the Mid­dle East has all the in­gre­di­ents it needs to be suc­cess­ful in the age of AI: a young, tal­ented pop­u­la­tion, vi­sion­ary and for­ward-think­ing lead­er­ship, and a drive to in­no­vate and de­velop.”

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