Insights: Making a difference in the world with AI
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Insights: Using AI to make a difference

Insights: Using AI to make a difference

In the world’s economically challenged and remote regions, AI can revolutionise access to finance, education, and clean water, while streamlining infrastructure development

Gulf Business
Making a difference in the world with AI - insights by Abdumalik Mirakhmedov - co-founder Scalo Technologies

How do you measure the benefits of artificial intelligence, as new tech advancements transform the way we live and work?

Does the answer lie in the way artificial intelligence (AI) allows you to open your smartphone through face recognition, or makes sure you don’t miss the next big thing on Netflix by suggesting what to watch?

Is it about the way this technology has made your company more efficient and profitable or helped attract investment for your tech startup?

Led by generative AI (GenAI), this advanced tech that learns like humans is already helping individuals and business organisations worldwide, and its scope for growth and advancement is enormous.

According to a Goldman Sachs study, widespread adoption of AI could contribute 1.5 per cent to annual productivity growth over ten years, lifting global GDP by nearly $7tn.

But is that the ultimate bigger picture, or should we be thinking more about how, in the coming years, AI can make the world a better place, by making life easier and more comfortable for people everywhere?

In the world’s poorer and remote regions, AI can revolutionise access to finance, education, and clean water, while streamlining infrastructure development.

AI is starting to bridge a huge education gap in India, where less than half of the schools have functional computers, and only just over a third have internet access.

An interactive, AI-enabled natural language voice recognition tool developed by an ed-tech startup in Bangalore, India teaches communicative English to students and teachers in the rural areas of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

Over 30,000 students in schools with poor teacher-student ratios or lack of qualified teachers now have a ‘teacher’ who can converse, repeat lessons, provide feedback, and correct mistakes. And rather than be replaced by AI, teachers learn how to conduct classes more effectively.

In healthcare, AI analyses medical data to diagnose diseases faster and more accurately, saving lives and improving patient outcomes. It also helps doctors identify patients at risk for certain conditions, enabling early intervention and treatment.

At Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, AI and machine learning are utilised to fine-tune radiation treatment plans for cancer of the prostate and bladder during each session. This allows doctors to adjust treatment daily, minimising radiation exposure and treatment time.

In agriculture, AI improves the efficiency of farming practices, helping farmers grow more food using fewer resources, reducing hunger and protecting the environment.

The Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) has developed an AI-based agricultural monitoring system that uses satellite imagery and AI algorithms to assess crop health, detect pests and optimise water and fertiliser usage. It helps farmers save resources and boost productivity.

In environmental conservation, AI monitors and protects endangered species, predicts weather patterns to combat climate change, and optimises resource management in the fight for a sustainable future.

AI models developed by UK-based non-profit organisation, Conservation AI, analyse drone or camera trap images to identify wildlife. Processing millions of images and spotting individual animals from different species, the tool monitors biodiversity in real-time, responds quickly to threats, including poaching and fires, and helps conservationists protect vulnerable species promptly.

In disaster response, AI quickly analyses data and identifies patterns that help first responders respond faster to natural disasters and other emergencies, ultimately saving lives and reducing the impact on communities.

Researchers at Stanford University developed an AI earthquake detection system that identifies minor quakes often overlooked by conventional methods. It provides data about a region’s seismic activity to help forecast larger, more destructive earthquakes.

This is just the start of AI’s new power to positively impact the world. As it advances, the tech will have even more transformative effects on society, delivering things that many of us take for granted into the lives of the less fortunate.

Championing the use of AI for good

As a tech investor, my mission is to champion the innovative endeavours of young and ambitious companies that are using AI to create products that improve the lives of people across the world.

I’m driven by the idea of AI being developed further to bring about increased financial inclusion on a global basis, helping everyone online to manage finances, access new opportunities like digital assets, and improve their lives.

AI systems improve water distribution networks, prevent contamination, and enhance sanitation, providing clean water and hygienic facilities globally. Similarly, AI optimises infrastructure planning like road construction and urban development, ensuring efficient resource allocation and meeting local community needs.

Using AI in these areas bridges gaps between privileged and underprivileged regions, empowering marginalised communities and creating a more equitable and inclusive world.

Can people become a product of AI for good? Think of a bright-eyed youngster from an underprivileged family, seated at a small table in a makeshift village classroom, learning skills to give them the chance of a meaningful career in the big, wide world beyond.

As a scientific researcher or a doctor, creating or using AI to diagnose and treat serious illnesses faster than ever before. Or studying for a future role in using tech to end water shortages and crop failures, empowering families and future generations to thrive.

By embracing AI responsibly, we can ensure it becomes a powerful force for good, empowering individuals and communities around the world.

 The writer is the co-founder of UAE-based tech venture company, Scalo Technologies.

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