GAIN, ready to support national artificial intelligence efforts
GAIN, the Global Artificial Intelligence Network, will be leading the private sector charge to boost the Artificial Intelligence (AI) ecosystem in Southeast Asia. One of the ways it aims to do this, is by forming the Malaysia Chapter of the Institute for Robotic Process Automation & AI (IRPA AI).
GAIN is an NGO that was incorporated in Malaysia in 2017, but it realised from early on that it needed to look beyond its own borders to achieve its objectives.
One of its main objectives is to be the super corridor that bridges Malaysia’s AI community from ASEAN to the global stage. It saw the opportunity to do so, earlier this year when a delegate of GAIN members visited the Silicon Valley in the United States.
Its founding president, Dr. Chan Chee Seng from University Malaysia, said, “During an immersion trip to the United States in April, we discovered IRPA AI and its advantages.
So, what was meant to be an immersion trip into big data and artificial intelligence at the Silicon Valley, also turned out to be one where we signed up for IRPA-AI membership.
“This independent association already has members from eight countries as members, and participating in this ecosystem can help open doors for us, to all these AI hubs in all these other countries.
“We immediately saw the benefit.”
Malaysia is the second country in Asia, to participate in the association, after Japan.
Aligned to synergise
According to Dr. Chan who is Department Head for AI, at UM’s computer science faculty, “The more we talked with IRPA-AI, the more synergies we discovered especially as Malaysia is headed towards Industry Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0).
“We will need to automate many processes in an IR4.0 landscape, and robotic process automation or RPA, is a good first introductory step towards this.”
The other thing that appealed to GAIN, is the training and global awareness content which IRPA-AI has, and which GAIN wants to leverage. Significantly, the institute is also working on formalising a professional career path in the field of RPA via certifications.
The huge annual events which IRPA-AI organises, can also benefit GAIN members.
Dr. Chan said, “We are very activities-based. So far, we have conducted hackathons, meetups, and sharing to encourage ideas, collaboration and development on how AI can be used to tackle issues and problems.
“But, it is now very Malaysia-focused. Through this network, our members can start to have a global outlook and outreach.”
Upcoming fourth quarter highlights
GAIN is a very focused organisation that aims to position Malaysia as a major RPA and AI thought leader in this region.
Dr. Chan said, “As such, GAIN is ready to initiate, support, implement and execute on the Government’s vision for Artificial Intelligence.
Partnerships with like-minded organisations like IRPA-AI, is one of the ways GAIN wants to drive this support forward. To formalise such a partnership, a Malaysian Chapter of the IRPA-AI is expected to be ready by 4th quarter of this year.
On top of that, Dr. Chan said that GAIN is proactively taking steps to hit the ground running when the time comes.
“We are readying our global connectivity, and doing our part to prepare the nation’s mindset and skillsets for artificial intelligence, as well as building a platform to connect individuals who believe AI can drive economic growth for the country,” he said.
“We will be one of the few poised and ready community- and private-led NGOs that can help the government accelerate the outcomes that the government wants to achieve with the national framework.”
Dr. Karl Ng, the Director of Data Economy at Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), sees tremendous benefits arising from this partnership. “ This partnership marks another milestone in Malaysia’s digital and technology revolution journey. As AI becomes more and more crucial in all aspects of the economy, Malaysia is in the midst of accelerating the development of the local AI ecosystem and the IRPA AI’s partnership with GAIN will help to enrich it further and support the country’s drive to boost adoption of digital technology amongst industry, government and citizens,” he said.
According to a report by McKinsey (1), Artificial Intelligence (AI) has tremendous potential to boost productivity, and dramatically impact the Southeast Asian region’s economies, as well as its workers.
Besides technical feasibility, other factors affecting automation of jobs include costs of acquiring and implementing these technology systems, labour market dynamics, business benefits, regulatory, social acceptance and even management culture of companies in this region.
An organisation that represents the private sector, like the Global Artificial Intelligence Network, or GAIN, is much needed to boost and lead the private sector charge for the local and regional AI ecosystem.
With an academician as its founding president, Dr. Chan Chee Seng from Universiti Malaya, GAIN has a much-needed focus on academics, policy and technology R&D issues.