Kassym-Jomart Tokayev participated in the online conference “Artificial Intelligence Journey”, dedicated to AI and data analysis. The event, which brought together more than 28,000 registered participants from 90 countries, became the largest conference in the world this year.
Along President Tokayev, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin took part in the main discussion of the conference “Artificial Intelligence — the Prime Technology of 21st Century”. The moderator was CEO, Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank Herman Gref.
In his speech, the Head of State noted that the world is already living in the era of artificial intelligence, machine learning and neural networks, which cover such areas of human activity as the economy, security, medicine, and politics. In his opinion, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, these changes affected ordinary people.
“This is a new world, into which we are inexorably and quickly led by new technologies. What it will be, beautiful or frightening, what kind of future we will leave to future generations depends on our common efforts – the efforts of engineers, IT specialists, economists and, most importantly, politicians,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev believes.
He also noted that today artificial intelligence could detect diseases from images, make appropriate diagnoses, saving people’s lives.
For instance, the President cited experts' forecasts, according to which the use of AI will allow determining the next waves of diseases with dangerous infections 18 months in advance, which gives considerable time to prepare for such situations.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev noted that Kazakhstan has identified the development of AI technology and big data analysis as one of the main development priorities. He expressed the opinion that it is important for geographically large states to minimize “digital inequality” within the country, and “digital agglomeration” is becoming important.
The Head of State told the event’s participants about the measures taken in Kazakhstan to introduce digital technologies, which played an important role during the pandemic. For instance, this can be applied for the provision of remote public services, remote identification, and the opening of accounts for social benefits.
Besides, President Tokayev expressed interest in using information technologies to improve the public administration system and improve the quality of implementation of state policies. He also noted the role of digitalization and big data analysis in the formation and effective implementation of evidence-based policy.
As noted in the speech, the availability of real-time data, as well as the help of machine intelligence in forecasting based on incomplete or implicit information, will radically change the quality of decisions made.
According to him, Kazakhstan is working to implement the concept of “Data-Driven Government”, new approaches to collecting and processing a large array of data in real time.
Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stated the need to systematically building the necessary ecosystem. According to him, the Institute of Smart Systems and Artificial Intelligence has been created on the basis of Nazarbayev University, which together with the World Bank plans to create a national cluster of AI with its own laboratory, research center for data processing and scientific park for the AI development.
The President also recalled that there is an agreement between the Government of Kazakhstan, the Astana International Financial Centre and the World Economic Forum to open Affiliated Center of the 4th Industrial Revolution on the platform and in the jurisdiction of the AIFC. This Center will bring together government agencies, business and industrial partners of Central Asia to develop regulatory standards in the implementation of innovative projects.
President Tokayev noted that the use of new technologies is not an end in itself, but a way to improve the lives of citizens and the business climate. He is sure that digitalization and development of AI technologies are not a fad, but a key tool for achieving national competitiveness.
“The state should work like a machine. But a truly “listening-state” and civil servants should have empathy, a sense of compassion, and spend more resources on interacting with citizens,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev stressed.
In addition, the President drew the attention of the conference participants to the risks that should be taken into account when developing and implementing AI. According to him, there is a question of security and protection of personal data in conditions when the lion’s share of the processed information is private. As far as he is concerned, to resolve this issue, it is necessary to look for a middle ground.
Furthermore, President Tokayev pointed out the possibility of using artificial intelligence as a “weapon” in conflicts and geopolitical confrontations. Challenges to the existing security and arms control architecture may be compounded by confrontations in cyber technologies and AI.
Based on this, he suggested that individual countries, political blocs, and even individual corporations that own highly developed technologies might begin to claim a special status and dictate their terms to other countries.
The President suggested that the world political establishment should think about the possibility of adopting a memorandum on the non-use of artificial intelligence technologies to harm people and violate their rights. As he said, such document would become a kind of moral and ethical pact for humans and a categorical imperative for AI and its developers.
“Our task is to create measures to prevent negative influence of this kind. However, paradoxical as it may sound, the success of the new era will depend on the level of humanity that we put in new technologies. The thought processes of machines and robots should develop exclusively in a constructive direction,” Kassym-Jomart Tokayev is convinced.
Summing up his speech, the President noted that artificial intelligence is a tool that, if applied correctly, will allow us all to develop in a more balanced and harmonious way.
During the main discussion, the Head of State answered a number of thematic questions asked by the event moderator and experts.