SVI In-house Seminar/Panel Discussion: Report. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Implications for Pakistan August 20, 2019

SVI In-house Seminar/Panel Discussion: Report. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Implications for Pakistan August 20, 2019

Compiled by: Komal Ali Shah

Edited by: M Waqas Jan

 

The Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) hosted an in-house seminar on August 20, 2019 on ‘Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Implications for Pakistan’. The keynote speakers included Dr. Yasar Ayaz, Chairman and Central Project Director of National Center of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) of Pakistan and Head of the Department of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence at the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering (SMME) at the National University of Science and Technology, Pakistan), Air Marshall Javaid Ahmed, Director of ‘Policy and Doctrine’ at the Center for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), Islamabad, and Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal, Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad.

 

Welcoming the speakers and guests, Lt. General (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi HI (M), senior member, Board of Governors of the Strategic Vision Institute (SVI), chaired the session. Opening the proceedings, he explained that Artificial Intelligence is one of the foremost modern technologies of the world and holds tremendous importance within the current strategic environment. He further explained that Artificial Intelligence is a broader concept and that Machine Learning is a subset of it. Emphasizing on the importance of AI and ML, he explained that it has not only enhanced computing with more memory but it is actually a cognitive process that makes machines capable of recognizing data, sorting it out, making its own logic and carrying out its own corrections. Lt. General (R) Lodhi hoped that the eminent speakers of the session would shed further light on the uses of Artificial Intelligence with special reference to Pakistan, and the advances Pakistan had so far made in developing and employing such cutting edge technology in ways that benefit the country.

 

Haris Malik, Research Associate at the SVI presented a primer on AI and ML and explained how these two concepts have emerged in the 21st century and why they are widely acknowledged as one of the most anticipated technological evolutions. While there is no standard definition of these terms, widely accepted concepts state that AI is the capability of computer systems to perform automated tasks that usually require human intelligence e.g. perception, conversation, decision making etc. Building on this, ML is an application that provides systems the ability to automatically learn and improve from experience without being explicitly programmed to do so. The scope of AI is also not just limited to commercial applications. It also has major uses in military; aerial warfare, avionics, smart bombs, UAVs (Drones), cyber security, and disinformation campaigns.

Globally, the United States and China have taken the lead in this aspect while Russia and India are investing heavily on Research and Development in the field of AI. India is among the more advanced countries taking the lead in this field and is ranked third in terms of high-quality research publications. AI has also greatly transformed the defense policies of states. As such even the technological advancement of states can be determined on the basis of their AI based defense capabilities. In the near future, AI trends, national preparedness and geopolitics are all likely to serve as key factors that help in understanding global relations.

Moving on to AI in Pakistan, he explained that Pakistan fully acknowledges the significance of AI and has been working for the development of AI. In this regard, key institutions that are working in this area includes the Department of Robotics and Intelligent Machine Engineering (RIME) NUST, which was established in 2011. It is Pakistan’s first academic initiative in the field of Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. The RIME offers postgraduate studies and research in this field and related areas. Furthermore, the National Center of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) at NUST also stands as the latest technological initiative of Government of Pakistan set up since March 2018. It aims to facilitate researchers in the field of Artificial Intelligence and help expand the industry in line with international trends.

For the development of AI in Pakistan a think tank, Center for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS), has also been set up which intends to conduct research on emerging technologies such as AI and its implications for national security and to carry out systematic research in this domain as aerospace and AI are linked. Moreover, a Presidential Initiative for Artificial Intelligence and Computing (PIAIC) has also been launched in December 2018, to revolutionize education, research and business by adopting the latest cutting-edge technologies. Under this initiative, one-year courses of AI, Cloud Native, Block Chain and Internet of Things will be offered. The classes under this program will be provided in multiple phases with the first phase starting from Karachi and then moving on to provincial capitals including the federal capital as well. Concluding his presentation, he emphasized on more initiatives that need to be taken at both the strategic and defense levels to help fully leverage this emerging technology. As AI and ML both represent a turning point in the use of automation, and since warfare and future defense systems would be greatly influenced by this evolution, Pakistan needs to be well prepared in this domain.

 

Speaking on ‘The Global Race of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning’ Dr. Yasar Ayaz gave a comprehensive presentation covering the concept of Artificial Intelligence, the direction it was taking in terms of future developments as well as  the overall strategy and progress made in Pakistan with regard to employing AI in different spheres of life.

Defining AI as the method by which computer systems are able to perform tasks that otherwise normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and translation between languages, he explained how Artificial intelligence was already everywhere. He explained that the technology was widely being used both in ways that were obvious such as self-driving cars, as well as in other ways that are more inconspicuous. Commenting on the recent statement made by the Chief Justice of Pakistan Asif Saeed Khosa where he said that AI would assist the judiciary in becoming more efficient. Dr. Yasar said that him and his team were helping the judiciary of Pakistan to set up an AI and data mining system and that this was currently in progress at a number of high courts throughout the country.

To explain the significance of AI, he cited an example from the article published in Forbes in January 2019, titled ‘AI Wars – Will China Defeat the US?’

It stated that “AI is forecasted to add $15.7 trillion to global GDP by 2030. The main reason is that this technology is general purpose, having applications that span industries like healthcare, transportation, financial services, and energy and so on. Some consider AI to be on par with what we saw with the revolution of electricity during the 20th century.”

He said that just as in recent times nothing operates without electricity, in the future nothing would work without Artificial Intelligence and that AI would be a part of everything. He further mentioned the different domains in which AI works also known as core AI systems. It included Neural Works, Planning, Robotics, Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Perception, Knowledge, and Cognitive Systems etc.

While mentioning the commercial revenue forecast of AI, he said that such insight driven companies, like Google and Microsoft are expected to grow by 27% and that venture-based startups are expected to grow by 40% annually by the end of 2020.

He further mentioned the application domains of AI which included Healthcare, Robotics, Surveillance, Mobility, Smart city Crime prevention, Agriculture, Industry 4.0, Quality Assurance, Judicial Systems, Mining, Finance, Defense, Technologies, Disaster Management, Human Augmentation, UAV / UGV, Internet of Things, UI / UX systems. He went on to give several examples of how AI is revolutionizing these domains.

Starting with healthcare, he said that there are some diseases that cannot even be diagnosed without AI. For instance, he gave an example of a research done in the end of the 19th century where by using AI it can be successfully predicted which cases would require an emergency C-section and which cases would be done normally.  In the former Soviet Republic state Belarus, where the state has collected immense data in the form of chest x-rays for the entire nation; he mentioned how AI has been used to identify and predict the onset of asthma in its earliest stages. He also said that the world’s first robotic surgery, operation was done in 1998 which tells that AI has been around for quite a bit of time. However, due to some problems in the robotic translation, it did not take off then. Recent advances however, have led to the development of systems such as the da Vinci robotic surgical system, which gives surgeons an advanced set of instruments to assist in performing robotic-assisted minimally invasive surgery. This system translates a surgeon’s hand movements at the console in real time, bending and rotating the instruments while performing the procedure. It also filters out any errors or inadvertent hand movements a surgeon might make that could prove detrimental to the procedure. While this technology has yet to arrive in Pakistan, a number of other small-scale programs have been developed in the healthcare system.

Moving on to the application of AI in agriculture, he briefly discussed this domain and said that by using agricultural robots and drones, pests could be easily identified and removed that can eventually help in smart cultivation and harvesting. Smart cultivation and harvesting through AI would prevent humans from being infected by the poison that is sprayed on pests.

Talking about the application of AI in mobility, he explained how it has a great market in Pakistan. He pointed out that CPEC, which was one of the world’s most critical transportation projects currently in progress could allow AI assisted transportation to play a key role in the near future. He quoted the examples of self-driving cars made by major companies such as Nissan which are slated for launch in 2020 and other self-driving cars that have already been in operation in the US for quite some time. He also gave examples of using AI assisted mobility technologies. These are being used in the warehouses of Amazon, Ali Baba etc, where AI assisted robots are used for organizing and managing logistics, stocks and supply chains. These greatly help in online shopping and was something that a number of industries in Pakistan are keen to use in their own operations.

Moving towards the use of AI in surveillance and security, he talked about the prevalence of facial recognition software installed at the airports of developed countries to identify suspicious persons or criminals. As it is not humanly possible to remember and pay attention to each and every person, AI becomes very useful in this case. To attain effective street level surveillance too AI is needed. However, existing cameras alone cannot do this as sometimes the angle of a camera makes it difficult to identify a suspect, sometimes due to sunlight and other factors. Hence, there is still work that needs to be done in these areas for this technology to become cheaper and more widely available.

While talking about AI applications in defense, he stated that the disposal of IEDs using robots is widely used in the world. These robots are trained to detect, locate, access, identify, render-safe and recover explosive threats from both land and underwater environments. He emphasized that Pakistan should take the lead in developing its own robots as there was a definite and most pressing need to do so within the prevalent security environment.

While talking about AI applications in judiciary, he comprehensively explained how by feeding in the data of hearings and judgments of previous cases, new cases can be solved. Lawyers would be able to take references from the previously held cases that can help formulate AI generated recommendations that can help result in quick resolutions. He gave an example of how by deploying AI tools in the judicial system, it would become easier to determine what kind of punishment a convict deserves just by looking at the history of similar cases.

While discussing the work being done in Artificial Intelligence in Pakistan, he talked about the structure of National Center of Artificial Intelligence (NCAI) headed by himself. He discussed the ongoing projects of AI in Pakistan under NCAI in considerable detail. This included how Intelligence Robotics Lab at NUST was looking into technologies related to aerial navigation and mobility, ground navigation and mobility and precision agriculture. There are a number of applications of these in public areas. For instance, crowd surveillance technology developed by his lab can be used to prevent potential stampedes during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia by alerting the authorities of any movements or crowd behavior early. This technology he said was working is already available with the Saudi authorities.

Since Pakistan’s economy mostly relies on agriculture, crop yield estimation, pest detection and crop surveying can help Pakistan greatly improve and enhance its produce.  The Deep Learning Lab at NUST is currently focusing on developing better ground, aerial and data surveillance mechanisms for this purpose.

Data surveillance is also a critical technology related to these ideas that can help prevent many major incidents. For example, the New Zealand Christchurch shooting could have been prevented had data surveillance been in practice. Pakistan is already working on a project related to data surveillance. Even though data surveillance sounds defense oriented it is not so since a number of commercial companies use it as well. Pakistan’s Judicial system is also exploring ways to use this system for which there are a number of projects currently underway.

Similarly, there is also a Medical Imaging and Diagnostics Lab at the COMSATS University Islamabad, that is focused on enhancing AI assisted brain tumor detection, breast cancer detection, and tuberculosis detection and identification.

Speaking about the work being done by the Smart City Lab at NED-UET Karachi, Dr. Ayaz explained how the lab looks after smart traffic and people management, moving vehicles, and visual positioning Systems. They are also well known as the makers of Aqua-agro, a water resource management system to enhance soil productivity, which is already in a commercial use right now.

The Neurocomputation Lab also located at NED-UET Karachi looks after making Neuromorphic Computing Systems and Software including Brain Machine Systems with AR/VR Experience. These technologies involve a lot of AI and are among the top ten technologies in the world.

The Intelligent Systems Design Lab (ISDL) at UET, Peshawar, is also working on studying natural and man-made disasters such as bomb blasts, accidents, stampedes etc via AI tools.

The Intelligent Info Processing Lab at UET-P deals with Mineral Resource Estimation and Mine Planning. This lab determines how deep and what kind of mine should be explored, what is the optimized way to do it and how many people should be sent inside at one time.

Similarly, the Intelligent Criminology Lab at UET, Lahore, deals with crime detection, crime prevention and crime mitigation. For example, if someone goes inside the ATM and the other person comes inside to rob him, the conventional method available is to dial the pin code in reverse to alert the bank that something wrong is happening. But with the help of AI technology combined with the existing security systems such as cameras, a gun can be detected if it is inside the ATM and the police of that particular area can be alerted on time. This algorithm is already in use.

The Agent-based Computational Modeling Lab at the University of the Punjab deals with Vehicle Driver Assistance and Support and Realist Traffic Simulator. A project under this has already been done and delivered to a maps company. What happens is that if a truck driver has to take a new route which he does not know anything about, he can put the address and the vehicle would take him there itself. Realist Traffic Simulator would help to find out which road is closed, such as in rallies and processions based on which it would suggest alternative routes.

The following systems are already producing results in the labs at NUST. The Vehicle Counting and Classification System classifies buses, trucks, vans, SUVs, cars, bicycles, motorbikes and loader vehicles with a Mean accuracy of 90% all in real time. Anomaly Detection in Dense Crowds is also another system, which deals with statistical modeling of dominant motions in the scene. It is unsupervised and applicable to structured scenes. Another project currently underway is predicting bank failure with the help of AI. In this joint project with the University of Salford’s business school and the Manchester Metropolitan University, the goal is to predict Bank failure based on a treasure trove of data gathered from eight countries. The data shared is of 1139 banks of G7 countries and Australia. The period that is studied is from 2003-2013 to help predict the future failures of banks. The accuracy is 91%.

Similarly, the people counting technology that was mentioned before is already in place at the Giga Mall Rawalpindi where ground cameras are able to detect the direction and flow of footfall. This in turn helps to identify which area generates the most traffic and eyeballs to help from both a sales and marketing perspective.

Another project currently underway is the Urdu Voice Based Interaction for In-car Navigation funded by TPL Trakkers Ltd. Since many truck drivers cannot talk in English, this project would help drivers to navigate using Urdu language or even their own regional languages in the future.

In the field of robotics there is also the Robo Cup which is another successful project being led by these labs and it is the first and only team ever from Pakistan to gain the top position at the Robotics World Cup ’18, also making it the only team from South Asia to lead in this World Cup. These robots are not manually controlled, and they do not even have an external camera monitoring them. As such, they have to process whatever limited information they have autonomously. These robots are also being used to treat kids with autism. Since autistic kids have difficulty in concentrating on anything for a long period of time, these robots can identify contact made for more than 3 seconds as eye contact. There are three levels of autism therapy using robots. Firstly, the robots involve the child by doing something, secondly, it imitates them, and lastly, successful results lead to the child interacting with the robot. So far, 22 patients have been treated by this program.

Then there is another important project based on designing an Intelligent Wheelchair between NUST and Sakura University, Japan. The goal of this smart wheelchair project is to enhance an ordinary powered wheelchair using sensors to perceive the wheelchair’s surroundings, with a speech interface to interpret commands, a wireless device for room-level location determination, and motor-control software to affect the wheelchair’s motion. The system has been developed by NUST and the wheelchair has been provided by Sakura Japan. Another important project is Rapidly exploring Random Tree (RRT) based Motion Planning.  This is more theoretical, and it is an algorithm which was developed for motion planning. The significance of this development is that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) extended it into a thesis in September 2018, and with this work is now cited 23 times.

Another one of our more important systems currently in development is that of a Prosthetic Hand. Bioengineers are working to create human-machine interfaces embodied by a prosthetic limb that really feel like an extension of the body. Then there is a Tendon-Servo Actuated Hand Exoskeleton for human assistance. It is designed for Post-Traumatic usage. It has Bluetooth communication and On-board batteries for plug-and-play operations. The last project under these labs, so far, is that of a prosthetic leg. This is a recent development, which identifies a person’s speed and works accordingly.

Dr. Yasar while concluding his presentation proposed a way forward for AI in Pakistan. He stated that Artificial Intelligence has the potential to modernize existing systems: Technical, Socio-Technical as well as Financial / Judicial etc. Considering its huge potential there were still a host of possible collaboration areas that could be identified further. In order to facilitate this, new academic programs on Artificial Intelligence should be developed keeping in view their relevance and inter-connectedness with other curricula and subjects to allow for more interdisciplinary approaches to this vast and exciting field of study.

 

Speaking on Artificial Intelligence and Warfare, Air Marshall Javaid Ahmed, began his discussion by highlighting the relationship between National Power and Artificial Intelligence. He explained that the concept of Artificial Intelligence in warfare was not new. He said that the tangible aspects of national power include geography, population, resources, raw materials and technology and gave examples of technologically advanced countries like Japan. While mentioning the intangible aspects of national power that include morale, leadership, diplomacy and above all organizational capability, he said that AI can improve organizational efficiency of national power hence, it is an important part of it.

Moving towards the strategic perspective of AI, he said that societies are driven by the need for speed. The urgency of daily demands generally has not incorporated all the data available and hence, the short cycle responses are seen in national narratives, which tends to go towards one side. The aim is mostly to survive for the next crisis and things are managed for tomorrow at the expense of today. Posing the question of how AI would control this aspect of life and referring to the presentation just given by Dr. Ayaz, he stated that AI controls almost every aspect of life and that every technology especially AI is of dual use, that is for military and civilian purposes. Not just AI, Block chain, Nano technology, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality all possess immense strategic potential. For instance, the technology used in facial recognition and autonomous vehicles is also used in autonomous weapons as well. Furthermore, he mentioned how this technology would also ultimately replace skills. He talked about the two schools of thoughts in this regard. These schools argue whether AI would replace jobs or certain tasks previously carried out by humans. If AI replaces jobs then many areas would become obsolete for example robots might take over doctors and perform surgical operations and similarly in judiciary, cases would be solved by robots interpreting and making decision. He said that if all this technology has a disruptive potential, then the war on the control and proliferation of this technology also gains significance. He gave the example of Huawei’s ban by the US and said that the 5G war between China and the US is much more than simply restricted to technology. While emphasizing on the importance of data collection in Artificial Intelligence, he mentioned that the war between superpowers is now all about data and further said that states with good command and control over data would eventually win this war. Similarly, the civilian sector in AI must not be ignored, as there is a lot of investment in this domain and there is a lot of application of AI in the civilian sector.

Moving on to the subject of Militarization of Artificial Intelligence, he mentioned certain domains that would significantly affect warfare. Firstly, human-machine collaboration would help in sifting of data. For example, it is humanly impossible to analyze and transfer large amounts of data so in this regard, human-machine collaboration will make it easier. Human-machine collaboration is then followed by human-machine combat, and the ultimate use of AI is that of autonomy. The biggest power of AI comes from data processing and its speed and this will eventually help to win the race for what is referred to in aerial combat terms as first-shot capability.

He further mentioned the famous OODA loop by John Boyd, which consists of four applications of warfare; i.e to Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. He stated that, ‘by using this OODA Loop, you are able to continuously adapt to changing circumstances and use this to draw on your strengths. In aerial combat, split-second decisions are crucial. When you respond too late, the enemy gets the upper hand. We live in a rapidly changing world. If you do not change with time, chances are that you will go under. AI in this regard can integrate all this and help in warfare.’

While talking about information security, he discussed how the US military having started using drones in the early 2000s for ISR (Intelligence, Security and Reconnaissance) purposes, are now applying AI to these drones for an even greater advantage. He further pointed out that the Pakistan military too uses drones for ISR missions every day and that even in war gaming, AI is used regularly. He gave the example of the JF-17 and how instead of having a dual cockpit it relies on its on-ground simulator for training purposes.

He also mentioned that Command and Control systems by incorporating AI would also drastically improve their speed and responsiveness. Moving towards the application of AI in aerospace, he explained how AI has had a profound effect on aerospace. The fourth-generation revolution, safety, predictive maintenance and testing have all made the aviation sector a very good ground to test AI. Even a normal airline today is flown by autopilot and it is predicted that airplanes would go completely autonomous in the near future. Lastly, when considering the application of autonomy in aerospace however, ensuring the maturity and safety of systems is of tantamount importance as the consequences of implementing immature technology must still be assessed rigorously.

Lastly, while talking about AI and warfare, he said that AI affects every aspect of warfare from conventional to nuclear to 4th Generation wars. There are two schools of thought in this regard; one talks about the minimal approach that is high safety and technical issues. The other school says that the impact would be evolutionary and that it would dramatically change the nature of warfare making all wars less uncertain. Another school of thought says that this change in warfare would be revolutionary and that wars would be completely autonomous and fought instead by robots. While talking about AI from the perspective of principles of war, which include objectives, offensives, economy of war, maneuvers, surprise etc., he stated that all these elements are effective. From the perspective of the nature of war, he stated that even though AI may reduce fog of war and friction, a new type of fog would come in. This would then include varying computer hardware and software capabilities which would then also need to be considered.

He said that  in terms of strategy AI gives many options. In the nuclear domain, AI would both stabilize as well as destabilize security. In his view, AI should have a minimal role in control of nuclear weapons. Finally, in military minds, there is a requirement to educate us. Concluding his talk, he mentioned that AI is transforming warfare but has a long way to go. He further gave the example of how India is using AI in the recent Kashmir issue to access the phones and computers of the local population to find out what they talk about once the curfew is lifted.

Finally, he mentioned that the Pakistan Air Force is taking initiatives to support its own systems as well as to integrate existing systems by developing related AI systems in the near future.

 

Speaking on Regional Trends in Artificial Intelligence and its Implications for Pakistan, Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal began his talk by highlighting the trends of Artificial Intelligence and said that the trend is very much proliferating, constructing and advancing in the case of Pakistan and India.

In both states, the focus has been more on non-traditional security challenges in artificial intelligence as well as on economics. He said that it makes sense if we consider the literature where it is argued that it’s the fourth industrial revolution. President Putin’s statement in 2018, which stated that the country leading in AI, would eventually rule the world is highly significant for the security community within this context. However, the competition between China and the US can also not be ignored in this domain. He further mentioned that AI has the potential to transform national security on part of nuclear weapons, missiles, computer systems etc. For instance, the Russians used AI efficiently in their annexation of Crimea. He further mentioned that non-state actors pose a serious threat in this regard as they can attain AI and use it as well. But given that AI will transform the nature of warfare and there would be unmanned combats, then the chances of threats by NSAs are reduced. The success of shifting from manned to unmanned combat is subject to debate. Information has always contributed immensely in the making of security and strategy and its success since primitive times. Given that AI is all about information and data processing and analyzing, the famous quotes by Sun Tzu that ‘know yourself, know your enemy’ then guides us here in AI. In the context of India and Pakistan, both the countries now emphasize upon use of AI.

With its brand of ‘AI for All’, India is seeking to position itself as a leader in the global AI race, innovating, testing and deploying solutions to address development challenges in the global south. While talking about the regional context, he said, it is important to note that how this will impact our strategic environment. In this case, the area where AI is going to make a difference is defense and offense technology by increasing the precision of missile systems and unmanned vehicles. India is working on missile systems that would greatly alter the strategic environment. Artificial Intelligence will overall contribute towards trends of shifting the strategy towards defensive side. The general perception, however, is that AI is bringing a revolution in military affairs but it is subject to debate whether it is an enabling technology in military affairs or a revolution.

Lastly, he proposed that Pakistan should adopt a national level strategy to take advantage of AI in national security while mitigating its disruptive effects. He concluded that AI has brought about a significant revolution in asymmetrical warfare.

 

Question and Answer Session

The first question was posed by Dr. Attique Rehman (Assistant Professor at National University of Modern Languages) at Dr. Yasar Ayaz about Pakistan’s dependency on cyberspace security. He asked that since there is no equilibrium between cyberspace and cyber laws then what counter measures would need to be taken against such an attack?

 

Dr. Ayaz replied that cyber security is not his primary area of expertise but so far, there is a need for more robust measures to be taken in this regard. Dr. Zafar Nawaz while adding to this point stated that the debate on laws for lethal autonomous weapons has been going on in the International community since four years that either the sates would go in favor of human rights or in favor of Geneva Convention and further said that states would eventually opt for such laws and with the evolution of technology legal systems would evolve as well.

 

Ms. Rubina Waseem (NDU) asked Air Marshall Javaid Ahmed whether there was any national or international provisionavailable to prevent AI from being misused since it was a dual use technology. He replied that as of now, he is not aware of any specific laws but the need for laws in this domain cannot be ignored. Dr. Jaspal added that the laws applicable on other technologies can be applied to Artificial Intelligence.

 

 

Ms. Saima Sial Senior Research Officer at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS) asked Dr. Yasar Ayaz if there could be an interface between the defense side and the civilian side of AI and that whether security related research was a priority for the Government as evident in its dispersal of funds and grants. She further asked about data mining process that globally there has been a lot of work being done in this domain so; is there any lab available in Pakistan doing similar work?

Dr. Ayaz answered that there is no specific priority given to security, under the present framework. That in fact, it is more commercially focused and academically driven. While answering about the data mining, he said that there is an application that Pakistan is working on to mine data from various sources. We have the capability, but we are short of funds.

Ms. Sial also posed a question to Air Marshall Javaid Ahmed about how AI would affect doctrine. To this, he answered that AI makes doctrine much more difficult as doctrine requires experience and so far, AI does not seem to have much of that.

 

Ms. Puruesh Chaudhary (Founder/Director AAGAHI) asked Dr. Ayaz whether his labs at NUST were able to fulfil the 1million work opportunity and that whether Pakistan would be able become a trillion-dollar economy in the near future. Dr. Yasar replied that in order to increase jobs and boost the economy, outreach with different industries was required and there is a need for an AI cell in every sector. Additionally, there is a dire need of a cohesive strategy in Pakistan to help promote entrepreneurship which would definitely help Pakistan.

 

Ms. Maham Gillani (Center for Aerospace and Security) asked Dr. Ayaz about the limitations of AI and whether there was any threat to humanity from the technology itself. To this Dr. Ayaz replied that this was a common question and that he has always joked about it by saying that before AI can take over the world, Global warming would likely wipe out humanity first. He said that on a serious note because of commercial interests, the actual hazards and dangers of technologies are not often taken into account. AI was also similarly a tool which can be used both in a good way as well as a bad way. The only way forward is to develop our own strategy. Mr. Javaid Ahmed further added that the answer to the limitations of AI lies in the technology itself that people are creating. Many are not even sure of how it will work out and thus it is like a kind of black box.

Dr. Adil Sultan (Director CASS) asked Dr. Ayaz about how AI would affect existing social structures and that what would happen to previously human-centric jobs if AI takes over. Dr. Ayaz explained that AI would not as such take over human jobs but instead evolve the trend of jobs and increase efficiency. All in all, using advanced tools is never a bad idea.

 

The Final question was asked by Lieutenant General Asad Durrani about the strategy to counter cyber-attacks. Air Marshall Javaid Ahmed replied that we already have so many systems that what is left is to incorporate AI into it to develop a counter cyber-attack strategies and mechanism.

 

 

In conclusion Lieutenant General (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi offered his deepest thanks to the participants and speakers for their active participation in the discussion.




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