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Pakistan should digitally transform its economy and leverage Artificial Intelligence (AI) as much as possible to increase productivity in different sectors while also increasing its potential to expand exports, said Semih Kumluk, Head of AI and Digital at PwC, and based in the UAE.

“Pakistan must come out of its hangover of availability of cheap labour in the country and start leveraging technology,” said Kumluk while talking to Business Recorder on Tuesday at the sidelines of ‘Transform your business with Generative AI’ – a programme organised by TerraBiz.

Participants of the programme were mostly senior managers working for or heading IT departments of their respective organisations. The programme was co-facilitated by Syed Abdul Qadir, Executive, Director Technology and Cybersecurity Risk Assurance, A.F. Ferguson and Co.   

10 urgent policy priorities for Pakistan towards AI-readiness

Kumluk, who designs, develops and delivers custom-designed upskilling programmes in all digital topics, also mentioned a PwC report, which states that AI could contribute $15.7 trillion by 2030 to the world economy – more than the current output of India and China combined.  

“AI will increase productivity and definitely some people will lose jobs if they resist change. However, there will be more jobs created and those will remain employed who upskill their professional abilities,” said Kumluk.   

“The youth need to be directed towards technology. If they pick AI as their career, it may also increase their income, and they can contribute more to the economy in their entire lifetime” he added.

He further said Pakistan should use AI applications such as Generative AI using global trade data, and find markets for the country’s goods. 

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“Leveraging AI anywhere will help.” 

Kumluk is also against censure for using AI applications such as ChatGPT by students to complete their reports or assignments. He said that there was a time when teachers protested against using calculators. 

Similarly, the use of AI applications should be allowed for use with certain checks and balances.

He also spoke at length about the ethical challenges AI poses to the world.

However, he said that embracing technology including AI was the way forward for everyone including Pakistan.   

Kumluk, who is Turkish by origin, said that one of the reasons for the downfall of the Ottoman Empire was that it did not embrace new technologies.

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