Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal presided over the inaugural meeting with the members of the task force on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The meeting marked the beginning of a collaborative effort to harness the potential of AI and pave the way for Pakistan’s knowledge economy in line with Vision2025.
During the meeting, the minister highlighted the establishment of national centers for artificial intelligence, cyber security, automation, robotics, big data, and cloud computing, and applied mathematics which has significantly contributed to the country’s progress in the domains.
He acknowledged the revolutionary impact of AI in various sectors, shaping the way people live, learn, work, and even how governments operate. Citing his recent participation in an AI forum in China, he expressed admiration for the progress made by Asian countries, particularly China, in AI development.
The minister stressed the importance of inclusivity and collective efforts in shaping AI policies. He drew parallels to the development of Pakistan’s first information technology policy in 1997, which embraced open-source development and crowd-sourcing of ideas. The minister called for a similar approach, inviting stakeholders from academia, industry, and overseas Pakistanis to contribute their expertise in formulating an effective AI strategy.
He also outlined two primary levels of intervention for AI implementation. The first level aims to safeguard Pakistan’s future development by leveraging AI to enhance competitiveness in sectors such as exports, agriculture, and industry. He emphasized the need to identify vulnerabilities and adapt to the changing landscape to maintain Pakistan’s position in the global market.
The second level focuses on capitalizing on the opportunities presented by AI. The minister highlighted the potential for Pakistan to become a preferred destination for businesses and operations, creating opportunities for its young population.
He also underscored the importance of preparing the country’s human resources for global markets in IT exports. The minister urged the task force members to identify relevant sectors, challenges, and opportunities of AI, and formulate a comprehensive roadmap within thirty days.
He emphasized the need for inter-ministerial coordination to ensure a holistic approach to AI implementation, involving government bodies, industry leaders, and academia.