AI research can further our national priorities, including increased economic prosperity, improved educational opportunities and quality of life, and enhanced national security.
Bahrain graduates hundreds of technology and computer science students every year with many world-class ‘graduation projects’ which can be bases for mega projects in the region. These students are potential entrepreneurs and inventors of future AI initiatives, not only for Bahrain but for the region. Therefore, it is imperative to establish Bahrain as a regional centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Development, and instead of multinational companies developing AI programmes in South Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe to export them to GCC, they would enhance such technologies in Bahrain with many benefits to the GCC and the kingdom.
The Innovation Centres for Artificial Intelligence should be a national initiative focused on joint technology development between academia, industry and government in the area of AI. Bahrain has the talent, the world-class research and the long-standing tradition in AI education to be one of the world’s top ranked countries in terms of innovation power. AI R&D brings these positive forces together in a unique national initiative.
AI R&D centre innovation strategy is organised around industry labs, these are multi-year strategic collaborations with a focus on technology and talent development. It centre will create innovative AI-applications, distribute AI-knowledge for companies and organisations in the form of technology products and tools, train corporate employees through dedicated courses, and simultaneously maintain a connection with other world-level science centres. It will also facilitate commercialisation by enhancing start-up and spin-outs.
We can already see the potential for AI in international development: the seemingly endless possibilities to enhance productivity and innovation across healthcare, agriculture, education, transportation, and governance.
Given the opportunities and potential consequences of new automation and mechanisation techniques and advanced analysis through machine learning and neural networks, many American and European innovations centres are investing in applied research across a number of domains to advance the public good with the use of AI for development. These centres can also be found in Canada, the Netherlands, India, Thailand plus a great potential for Bahrain in the Middle East.
Such a strategic initiative would complement great efforts by the Economic Development Board and Bahrain Polytechnic in supporting artificial intelligence initiatives and investments in the kingdom.
Dr Jassim Haji