ISLAMABAD : President Dr Arif Alvi has said that rapid development in key sectors of the country including health, agriculture and industry is possible through combination of governance and innovative technology. Addressing at the launch of two-day ‘1st showcasing of Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) Products & Services’ here at COMSTECH on Tuesday, the President said the country could become a major global player in technology by aligning expertise with future demands. The national exhibit organized by COMSTECH, the Ministerial Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation of Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) showcased services and products in areas including Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Assistants, Robots and Chatbots, Data Analytics, Cyber Security, Digital Transformation – 5G, Virtual Augmented Reality, Block Chain and Business Intelligence. President Alvi, also the chairman of COMSTECH, termed data as the ‘new gold of contemporary age’, which he said could be used to gain maximum benefit to boost economy and enhance exports. He mentioned that China and Japan were the prominent examples of making strides in development by combining system of governance with technology. The President said Pakistan was working towards implementation of digital payment system for smooth and fast financial transactions. He said with agriculture as the country’s backbone, the use of drones for harvest operations and pest sprays, and monitoring crop growth through digital-imaging capabilities could help the farmers in correct assessment about their fields. President Alvi stressed better optimization of the country’s big database of individuals to explore areas that required more attention. He termed three stages important in making difference in the field of Artificial Intelligence, including concept and innovation, translating it into product and effective marketing. He emphasized on developing human resource that could contribute to software making and thus excel in digital technology. President Alvi said the COMSTECH could play an effective role in promotion of science and technology in Islamic countries and expressed confidence that the exhibit would provide academics and industries a platform to jointly pave way towards the journey of technological development. Minister for Science and Technology Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said ‘Think Future’ and ‘Made in Pakistan’ was the two-pronged approach of his ministry with an objective of translating research into products. He said the country, which was importing equipment after detection of its first coronavirus case in February 26, had achieved the capability of exporting PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) within a few months. He said precision agriculture, chemical replacement and electronics were the next focus areas of Ministry of Science and Technology. Chaudhry Fawad stressed the need for bidding farewell to the ‘culture of banning’ of tech applications, journals and books, and said focusing on counter-narrative would be more effective instead of trying to build narratives. Coordinator General COMSTECH Prof. Dr. Iqbal Choudhary apprised the audience about the scope of the exhibition within the country and abroad. The event was attended by developers of Artificial Intelligence, academic policy makers, data analysts and experts.
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