Artificial intelligence is an emerging field in Pakistan. Top-notch IT companies and software houses are working on various AI-related projects from foreign clients.
According to industry experts, out of 4,000 companies, 70 companies in Pakistan are working exclusively on artificial intelligence projects for renowned local and international clients.
Among those 70 companies, 12 are working for foreign clients. These companies are not only developing service products but doing research projects as well.
As per statistics shared by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), IT remittances of over $1 billion were received by Pakistan in the financial year 2018-19. The contribution of software consultancy in these remittances was $355 million.
In recent years, the field of artificial intelligence has grown by leaps and bounds in Pakistan and is likely to grow further in years to come, said Umair Nizam, Vice President Ecommerce Gateway Pakistan. Pakistan’s youth is quite interested in this field and the local talent that has begun to sprout is truly phenomenal. By making special efforts to grow this sector, Pakistan has the potential of competing as one of the global players, he added
IA Projects at Local Universities
Specialized AI communities in Pakistan are working to increase the human resource in this field, helping increase the number of professional experts in AI.
There are currently two major AI communities in Pakistan: Pakistan AI and Karachi AI. LUMS, Agha Khan University, and NED University have also set up artificial intelligence labs for improving R&D.
Govt Plans To Promote AI in Pakistan
The government wants to explore the potential of AI and will provide grants to fund artificial intelligence projects in the country.
In this regard, the government plans to invest seed money of around Rs 1.1 billion to initiate AI projects in Pakistan. The project will be supervised by HEC whereas six public-sector universities were selected to create nine-labs for research on AI.
Last year, President Arif Alvi launched the Presidential Initiative for Artificial Intelligence & Computing (PIAIC).
PIAIC is an interdisciplinary hub for mass education, research, and business in artificial intelligence (AI), data science, cloud computing, edge computing, blockchain, and the internet of things (IoT). The initiative aims to transform education, research, and business in Pakistan.
According to experts, there is a lot of potential for enhancement in healthcare and financial sectors which can be exploited via AI. Automation of governance through AI will also make a difference at the local level.
Recently, an exclusive AI Summit took place for the first time at ITCN Asia 2019, which set a roadmap for local companies for international collaboration and knowledge exchange.
Zeeshan Aftab, Co-Founder 10Pearls—a company working on different AI projects, said that AI can be used to address some of the more pressing challenges of today.