AI-powered technologies to dominate tech landscape – News

Published: Thu 28 Dec 2023, 7:41 PM

Sets of technologies that are empowered by artificial intelligence (AI) will dominate the technology stage in 2024, a senior official said.

“We believe that AI is the defining technology of our time, and we are optimistic about what AI can do for people, industry, and society by revolutionizing the way we keep our organizations secure and make them more creative and productive,” Ihab Foudeh, General Manager, Microsoft Middle East, told Khaleej Times in an interview.

More and more organisations in the region, most notably in the public sector, are already embracing these new technologies and tapping into large computation power to run sophisticated AI models. “This is a trend that we believe will continue. Keeping these organisations safe from cyber-attacks will be paramount, and we will continue seeing demand and continue investing in AI-assisted technologies in the security space,” Foudeh added.

Microsoft’s latest platform, Copilot, will enable anyone to harness the power of large AI models and generative AI without requiring any coding or technical expertise. “Copilot is a natural language interface that allows users to describe their desired outcome in plain language, and then generate high-quality content or code that meets their specifications,” Foudeh said.

Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella pointed out recently: “The most effective coding language of the future will be English.”

AI and automation are already transforming internet search, and they will continue to do so in 2024 and beyond, Foudeh said. “However, rather than replacing human searchers, we believe that AI and automation will augment and complement them, enabling them to find more relevant and reliable information faster and easier. In the field of web search, AI and automation will help us improve the quality and diversity of our search results, personalize them to our preferences and contexts, and provide us with rich and interactive answers and insights. They will also help us understand user queries, intents, and feedback, and optimize our search algorithms and ranking models,” Foudeh said.

All these technologies will be underpinned by organisations’ move to the cloud. “We believe that the cloud is powering the AI revolution and that we will be seeing more companies shifting to full cloud capabilities in the future to make sure they can take full advantage of these new tools. Moving to full cloud- as opposed to the cloud on premise- will become a matter of necessity to not be left behind in the productivity revolution we are witnessing,” Foudeh said.

Ihab Foudeh, General Manager, Microsoft Middle East

Ihab Foudeh, General Manager, Microsoft Middle East

While AI and automation are transforming the workplace, Foudeh believes that AI will ultimately end up creating new and different job opportunities driving innovation and new discoveries. “More than 80 per cent of business leaders surveyed in our latest Work Trend Index said that their employees will need to develop future skills such as data science, machine learning, and programming to prepare for the growth of this technology. While job roles requiring skills like creativity, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence will continue to be in demand, we also anticipate the creation of new roles centred around ethical AI development and oversight, ensuring responsible and unbiased use of these technologies, widening the need for AI specific skills beyond coding skills and technical expertise to other fields, such as legal services for example,” he added.

2024 will also witness an increased focus on data privacy, cybersecurity, and AI regulations not just in the region, but globally as well. “To further support and accelerate the wave of digital transformation that is sweeping across economies, governments are likely to enact more stringent measures to protect user data and ensure the secure development and deployment of the latest cutting-edge technologies. Additionally, we expect to see greater conversations around AI ethics and accountability to address the potential societal impact of these advanced technologies. These conversations will provide an opportunity for the tech industry to demonstrate its commitment to responsible innovation and to build trust with users,” Foudeh said.

It is clear that AI is presenting the next major shift in computing; an inflection point similar in magnitude to that of the personal computer, the Internet, mobile devices, and the cloud. “It is the next phase of digital transformation; a time when businesses are using AI to do more than just automate tasks, but also to revolutionize how they analyse data, extract invaluable insights, and unleash the full potential of their operations,” Foudeh said.

In the region, Microsoft is seeing growth with more companies embracing the cloud as a manner of necessity: they are keen to take advantage of the latest AI based technologies. “Already, Copilot makes people more productive and creative, and saves time. As use of generative AI at work spreads, the real opportunity is to not only transform personal productivity but lift the capability of the entire organization,” Foudeh said.

Microsoft foresees a high demand for skills related to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science. “The ability to work with and interpret big data will be essential, along with expertise in cybersecurity to address the growing threat landscape. Working alongside AI using natural language will be as inherent to how we work as the Internet and the PC,” Foudeh said.

With technologies such as Copilot, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) forever changing the way we live, learn, and work, Microsoft’s mission to empower every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more has never been more relevant. “We are committed to playing a pivotal role in accelerating the regional tech landscape in 2024 by investing in readiness initiatives and enabling our customers and partners to harness the power of AI assisted technologies to the fullest, across all professions and all sectors. Helping our customers develop creative use cases and the right technical as well as business skills will be crucial to ensure their success,” Foudeh said.

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