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In today’s tech-savvy landscape, AI tools like ChatGPT and Google-Bard are creating ripples of innovation. By harnessing vast amounts of data, these tools offer capabilities such as precise text predictions and insights, pushing the boundaries of what’s achievable. For Egypt, a nation embarking on its igital transformation journey, the rise of AI is both an opportunity and a challenge, marking a significant stride in a long journey of technological evolution.
The emergence of AI in Egypt is more than just a technological shift; it’s a societal transformation with a significant impact on the labor force. While AI tools enhance productivity across various sectors, they also bring forth a need for a re-evaluation of job roles and skills. This new era beckons Egypt to not only adopt AI but to adapt to it as well.
The AI revolution and productivity
AI tools are catalysts for productivity across a spectrum of industries, be it manufacturing, healthcare, retail, or finance. They automate routine tasks, optimize operations, and provide actionable insights through data analytics, enabling businesses to achieve more with less. “AI tools such as ChatGPT not only help workers become more productive but also earn more compared to their peers who don’t use AI,” said Dr. Mostafa Abou Gamrah, an accomplished entrepreneur and engineer with a rich background in AI and digital transformation.
In the healthcare sector, AI assists with early disease detection through generating X-ray or MRI imaging to identify signs of diseases such as cancer or heart disease earlier than traditional methods. In data analytics, AI also plays a major role. Companies collect a vast amount of data daily, from sale figures to customer feedback and AI aids in sorting through this mountain of data to uncover useful patterns. Many other sectors also rely on AI now, making it a crucial tool in the decision-making process of many organizations.
In Egypt, some companies have begun to harness AI’s potential to drive productivity. Notable entities like ABM Egypt, a marketing consultant, and Adam.ai, are delving into areas like Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to refine their operations. For instance, ABM leverages AI to enhance its data analysis and customer engagement. Adam.ai utilizes AI to streamline project management and communication processes.
Another prime example is Etisalat, a multinational telecommunications services provider, which has embraced machine learning and data science to optimize its network operations and customer service.
Government initiatives: fostering AI adoption in Egypt
In Egypt, the stride towards embracing AI aligns with its national strategy for Artificial Intelligence. This strategic framework aims to foster the adoption of AI across various sectors, promoting innovation, enhancing productivity, and achieving sustainable development.
According to Dr. Abou Gamrah, “The government of Egypt has played a proactive role in formulating the national artificial intelligence strategy and integrating AI within university curriculums, marking a crucial step in preparing the workforce for the AI era.”
A good example is the “Egyptian Charter for Responsible AI” which reflects a national endeavor to set guidelines and best practices for AI implementation.
In addressing the evolving labor force dynamics, these initiatives hold significant implications. By integrating AI into university curriculums, there’s a direct pathway for employees to gain AI-centric skills, preparing them to navigate and leverage AI tools in their daily tasks.
This educational integration is pivotal in equipping the workforce with the requisite knowledge and skills to harness AI for better decision-making and efficiency in various sectors.
For instance, AI tools like ChatGPT can be utilized to streamline customer service operations, allowing employees to handle more complex issues while the AI handles routine queries. Similarly, AI can automate repetitive data entry tasks, freeing up employees to focus on more strategic, value-added activities.
Furthermore, the broader goal of fostering a favorable AI ecosystem goes hand in hand with the objective of enhancing employees’ capacity to adapt to AI-driven changes in their work environment.
Further highlighting Egypt’s potential in the realm of AI, Dr. Abou Gamrah said, “Egypt has tremendous potential when it comes to the field of AI. Being the most populous Arabic-speaking country with a rich history and a vast repository of content from newspapers, movies, and books, Egypt stands a strong chance to develop a powerful Arabic Large Language Model.”
The private sector
The unfolding AI revolution has its leaders in Egypt – a blend of global tech giants and emerging startups.
Microsoft, a tech giant, has launched the ‘AI for Good’ program, aligning its AI initiatives with Egypt’s digital aspirations. Through this program, Microsoft nurtures AI-centric skills among Egypt’s youth, to bridge the skills gap that often accompanies the arrival of disruptive technologies like AI.
The ‘AI for Good’ Lab in Egypt directly contributes to the Egyptian labor market. By recruiting local data scientists and researchers, especially those with expertise in computer vision, machine learning, and AI, the lab generates new job opportunities while also enhancing the skill set of the existing workforce.
Moreover, by extending support to startups and bolstering AI innovations within the region, Microsoft is stimulating entrepreneurial endeavors and employment prospects.
This initiative also underscores the potential of AI in addressing critical societal challenges, which drives more sustainable, diversified economic growth, placing Egypt on a promising trajectory towards a future-oriented labor market.
For his part, Dr. Abou Gamrah believes that the private sector can play a pivotal role in this AI revolution by adapting to emerging technology trends, capitalizing on them, and integrating AI to develop new products and services. This proactive approach by the private sector could be a crucial part in bringing AI to life in Egypt, aiding the labor force in upskilling and re-skilling, which enhances global competitiveness.
The narrative of AI-driven productivity gains in Egypt isn’t solely shaped by global tech giants; it’s equally formed by a group of emerging startups, each contributing to a different facet of Egypt’s economic landscape. For instance, WideBot offers AI-powered chatbots to businesses, enhancing customer care by automating responses and minimizing response time. Talents Arena, an AI-powered technical hiring portal, facilitates job matching and candidate evaluation, streamlining the hiring process in a competitive market. MerQ creates AI and NLP-based chatbots for the finance sector, aiding in more effective customer engagement, a crucial factor for customer satisfaction and retention.
These Egyptian startups are showcasing the versatility of AI in optimizing resources. The innovation extends to AvidBeam Technologies, which provides AI-based video analytics for various sectors including Smart Retail, Smart Cities, and Smart Buildings, helping in data-driven decision-making and enhancing operational efficiency. Additionally, BlinkApp monitors driver behavior and provides quick accident detection, a benefit for both individuals and insurance companies as it aids in risk assessment and claims processing.
Through the lens of these startups, it’s apparent that the Egyptian entrepreneurial scene is riding the AI wave, contributing towards creating a robust digital economy. Dr. Abou Gamrah’s insights resonate with this, emphasizing that it’s “AI or Die,” reflecting the pressing need to embrace AI for surmounting present and future challenges.
The impact of today’s choices
This transformation towards AI also brings forth challenges, especially when it comes to job displacement and the need for upskilling. For the workforce to benefit from AI, concerted effort in training and education is imperative. This is not just a call to action for policymakers but for every stakeholder in the Egyptian economy as well.
The steps taken today in nurturing the right skills and fostering a culture of continuous learning will significantly shape Egypt’s position in the global digital economy. This is a pivotal moment, and the actions taken now will resonate through the job market and the broader economy for years to come.