President stresses investment in field of AI, Computing

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: President Dr Arif Alvi Thursday emphasizing on the need for investing in the field of Computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI), said that data and information were the new gold of 21st century.
He said that the field of Information Communication Technology (ICT) was evolving at a rapid pace and Pakistan and its decision-makers needed to make the right decisions promptly for developing and promoting the IT sector in Pakistan. The President made these remarks while addressing the concluding session of the Global Digital Summit organized by the CxO Digital Forum here.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of CxO Digital Forum, Kanwal Masroor and CEO of Meditech USA, Ms Michelle O’Connor also addressed the summit, which was attended by representatives of the IT industry and IT professionals.
The President further said that Pakistan needed to enhance its exports for overcoming economic challenges and that the IT sector had the potential to deliver fast-paced growth in exports within a relatively short period.
He said that Digital Health had gained greater significance in the present age, adding that it was important that they focus on the use of AI for reducing human misery and handling health issues.
The President said that the advancements in AI and image and pattern recognition software could help in the better diagnosis of different diseases. He stated that telehealth, online pharmacies, online Labs, practice management software, and wearables had not only made healthcare accessible for them all at the palm of their hands but also generated economic avenues for the business community in Pakistan. He called for the promotion and growth of the Digital Health Ecosystem in Pakistan.
While lauding the idea of the Global Digital Summit, the President urged the IT experts to provide their input to the government for making policies with regard to digital and telehealth platforms for the country, adding that the private sector needed to campaign and become a proactive partner for the implementation of these policies.
He said that 60% of the country’s population had limited access to better healthcare facilities and that proper use of digital health could reduce costs, improve efficiency, increase consumer engagement and enhance patient care.
The President said that 24% of the country’s population suffered from some kind of mental stress and that there were a limited number of mental health professionals to treat such issues.
He said that telehealth services and AI-based chatbots could help provide mental health counselling services to a greater number of people.
The President said it was deplorable that Pakistan was lagging behind even in imparting primary education to its children as the statistics showed that only 68% of Pakistani children were enrolled in Primary Schools whereas India had achieved 100% primary education for its children.
He said that in addition to focusing on traditional and brick-and-mortar education system, Pakistan needed to focus on imparting education and skills through online and hybrid modes of learning.
The President added that the COVID-19 pandemic had increased the acceptance of online education in Pakistan.
He said 2.4 million people from different academic backgrounds had benefitted from the Prime Minister’s Digital Skills program, digiskills, adding that such programs could be replicated to provide critical and marketable digital skills to the youth and women of the country.
Kanwal Masroor, CEO of CxO said that Pakistan needed to build platforms and opportunities in the digital space to utilize the youth bulge and its potential. He said that Pakistan was the 4th largest freelancer market in the world.
Earlier, the President also distributed shields among the top-performing IT companies working in Pakistan.