AI to boost Middle East GDPs, but must be used ethically, says Microsoft

Microsoft's president for the Middle East and Africa, Samer Abu Ltaif, said that AI implementation must take into account fairness, accountability, transparency and ethics
AI to boost Middle East GDPs, but must be used ethically, says Microsoft
In Saudi Arabia alone, AI is expected to contribute $135.2 billion, or 12.4 percent of GDP in 2030, compared to $96 billion in the UAE and $42.7 billion in Egypt.
By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Wed 10 Oct 2018 09:25 AM

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies will form a significant part of many Middle Eastern economies by 2030, but must be implemented “ethically”, according to Samer Abu Ltaif, the company’s president for the Middle East and Africa.

Speaking to Arabian Business this week, Abu Ltaif said a recent PwC study found that the Middle East will accrue 2 percent of the global benefit of AI in 2030 – the equivalent of approximately $320 billion.

In Saudi Arabia alone, AI is expected to contribute $135.2 billion, or 12.4 percent of GDP in 2030, compared to $96 billion in the UAE and $42.7 billion in Egypt.

“[This] means that we really need to make sure we integrate AI in every aspect of digitisation that we engage in,” he said.

However, Abu Ltaif warned that it is his view, and that o Microsoft, that AI technologies should only be built upon an ethical foundation that embodies four distinct principles: fairness, accountability, transparency and ethics.

“It’s important that there be certain principles to which we adhere when it comes to AI, that have been debated and will continue to be debated in the industry, primarily about inclusion but also about things like [ensuring that] AI be fair and how AI can drive accountability,” he said.

Microsoft is involved in a number of AI-related collaborations around the world. It’s “partnership on AI” programme, for example, brings together more than 70 partners in nine countries to conduct research, organise discussions and create educational material about AI technologies.

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