Sunday 14 Jul 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (April 18): With 94% of Malaysian companies gearing up for an artificial intelligence (AI) driven future, National Technology and Innovation Sandbox (NTIS) together with NVIDIA has launched an AI pilot sandbox programme.

It includes upskilling programmes for young talent to transition the economy to a knowledge-based one, with AI as the driving force for innovation.

The initial phase (phase 1) of the programme will be a virtual platform. It aims to increase the commercialisation rate of AI technology adoption among organisations in Malaysia, bridging the gap between current utilisation levels and industry benchmarks.

“We also seek to promote the execution of pilot projects and proof of concepts within organisations, demonstrating the tangible benefits and feasibility of AI adoption,” said Chang Lih Kang, Minister of Science Technology and Innovation (Mosti).

The potential impact of the programme is expected to facilitate the establishment of up to 900 AI startups by 2026. With the collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE), it is estimated that over 13,000 new AI talents will be cultivated by 2026 as well.

Ranked 44th globally in AI adoption, Malaysia has only 13% of its organisations ready for AI technologies. The programmes within the sandbox are designed to equip the local workforce with the necessary knowledge and expertise to harness the potential of AI in their respective fields.

“This initiative is not only about meeting the quantitative demand, but also about enhancing the quality of our innovators, thereby accelerating innovations and elevating Malaysia's position in the global AI landscape,” said MOHE minister Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir.

The programme will be crafted to keep educators and students at the forefront of AI technologies, pushing the boundaries of what AI can achieve across sectors. Zambry stressed that these efforts are crucial to ensure our educational systems stay responsive and relevant amid the evolving global technology landscape.

As the use of AI in 2024 is evolving with ChatGPT exceeding human performance, deep learning has also evolved from an idea to a possibility and now, a business.

“AI is not a technology, it is an engine for economic growth. It is a platform for public service innovation. It is a new path for transforming every field of science, every sector of your economy, every way that you serve your citizens,” said Keith Strier, vice president for worldwide AI initiatives at NVIDIA.

It is important for countries to not only be consuming AI but to adopt and have the ability to produce AI for economic growth, said Strier. He further urged for universities to adopt AI technologies into creating a generation of youth who understand how to use AI tools in their future careers.

To intensify the exploration of AI across different fields, MOHE in collaboration with University Technology Malaysia UTM) has developed Malaysia's first faculty of AI which will be launched on 10 May 2024.

“We are going to launch another exhibition to tell the public about our AI readiness. That is why we have to come together, not only involving MOSTI, but also other ministries as well, such as the ministry of investment, trade and industry, as well as the ministry of economy since they have launched AI for the rakyat,” said Zambry.  

Furthermore, MOSTI has launched the National Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence Committee to monitor the implementation of the initiative under the national blockchain technology roadmap 2031 to 2025 and the national artificial intelligence technology roadmap 2021 to 2025.

“The vision of the national artificial intelligence technology roadmap is to make Malaysia a nation where AI augments jobs, drives national competitiveness by encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship to bring economic prosperity, social good and improve people's well being,” said Chang.

Ultimately, AI's impact transcends singular entities, necessitating a holistic approach involving policies, infrastructure, and skilled individuals. Success hinges on the collaboration of ecosystems comprising talent, startups, and academic researchers.

Edited ByPathma Subramaniam
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