Central Asian Experts Call for Increased Synergy to Create Ethical, Secure AI


New technologies, artificial intelligence (AI), human capital and prospects for innovative cooperation between Asian states was discussed by experts at a July 14 panel session at the Central Asian Security and Cooperation Forum in Astana. 

The session participants addressed cooperation in innovation, security of digital currencies, development of AI and synergy between the potential of the Central Asian countries.

The session, moderated by Rustem Bigari, CEO of the Kazakh Digital Government Support Center, included Shu Chen, Yale World Fellow at Yale University and former managing director of public policy at Meta Corporation, Azizjon Azimi, founder and CEO of Zypl.AI from Tajikistan, Aziza Umarova, coordinator of the delivery unit at the Agency for Strategic Reforms of Uzbekistan, and Togzhan Kassenova, senior fellow with the Project on International Security, Commerce and Economic Statecraft at the Center for Policy Research, University at Albany.

Addressing the development of AI and its influence on Central Asia, the participants considered its impact on the region’s economic development. They outlined the importance of investing in AI not just for outsourcing software companies, but to also focus on software exports.

 “For Central Asia, it gives a unique and historic possibility to enhance economic development, and to be a winning region in this AI race that we see in the world and will see in the next few decades,” said the session participant.

Ethics and regulation were named as the main challenges for Central Asia in AI development towards ensuring security, reliability, safety, transparency and accountability.

“AI will keep getting smarter, as there are more things that spread into the modules, which are improving as well. The question is who will be regulating them,” the participant said. 

The participants proposed to introduce an ethical standard for Central Asia that will include AI principles and an ethics code.

“We will allow investors to understand that whether they invest in AI in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan or Uzbekistan, they will have similar approaches,” the expert said.

International experts agreed that the right policy, infrastructure, human capital and upskilling are important for digital transformation.

The panel pointed to the importance of being aware of vulnerability, risks and threats while developing policy, touching upon the areas of virtual assets and cryptocurrency that can be used for sanctions evasion.

Foreign experts focused on vulnerability that comes from cyber-attacks. For example, the panel cited the example of consistent cyber-attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges.

“There is also cryptocurrency mining, creating this value, which can then be converted to real currency. … Eventually, these funds can be used for terrorism,” the expert warned.

The speakers commended the contribution of the Astana Hub International Technopark of IT startups to the development of Central Asia by providing young developers from Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan with an opportunity to undergo the Silkway Accelerator program with Google for Startups, a three-months training with hands-on lessons from top Google experts.

“The Astana Hub was able to instill in us this idea that you can launch startups now and focus on software,” the expert noted.

“That is something that we have to keep doing, instead of being autonomous in the sense of pitching ourselves to the global IT market. We will be much more successful if we try to do it together,” according to the session participant.

Source : Astanatimes