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MDEC to complete national AI framework by year-end


KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 (Bernama) -- Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation Sdn Bhd (MDEC) is expected to complete the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Framework development by year-end to drive the AI ecosystem in the country.

Data economy director Dr Karl Ng Kah Hou said the framework development, which began last year, is an expansion of the previous National Big Data Analytics Framework, launched in 2015.

“The framework will only be implemented after receiving the approval of the government,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Microsoft Innovation Summit 2019 here, today.

According to a recent study jointly conducted by Microsoft and IDC Asia Pacific, Malaysia is not ready yet for AI, and it needs to focus on all areas, particularly its investments and data to accelerate its AI journey.

IDC Asia Pacific Datacentre Group research director Chin Jun-Fwu said the AI Readiness Index between Malaysia and its Asia-Pacific peers showed that Malaysia only scored 1.59 for investment readiness and 1.65 for data readiness.

“Whereas, Asia Pacific’s readiness for investments and data stood at 2.43 and 2.35, respectively, showing that Malaysia is still lagging behind its regional peers,” he said.

The AI Readiness Index ranges from one to four, with the higher score indicating the higher level of readiness for AI adoption.

Commenting on the findings, Ng said MDEC is working closely with industry players to promote and raise awareness on the need to invest in AI adoption.

Therefore, he said MDEC has been conducting focus group discussions with academia, associations, startups, industry players, as well as government stakeholders before completing the framework.

Themed “Future Ready Business: Assessing Asia Pacific’s Growth Potential Through AI”, the study was conducted from May 2018 to January 2019, surveying 1,605 business decision markets, with 1,585 workers from 15 markets taking part. They include 100 business leaders and 100 workers in Malaysia.

The survey showed that only 26 per cent of Malaysian organisations embarked on the AI journeys, and those which had adopted AI are expected to increase their competitiveness by 2.2 times in 2021.

However, Microsoft Malaysia managing director K Raman said the survey showed that 82 per cent of businesses are prioritizing skilling and reskilling of workers for the future.

“It is heartening to see them planning to invest as much, or even more in human capital than in new technology,” he said.

Even so, Raman said the study unveiled that 72 per cent of business leaders had yet to implement plans to help their employees acquire the skills.

“This is worrying in today’s context, as they must have the urgency to support the fundamental shift in training workers for the future,” he added.

The top three challenges of AI adoption in Malaysia are: dearth of thought leadership and leadership to invest in AI; lack of skills, resources and continuous learning programmes; and inadequate advanced analytics or infrastructure and tools to develop actionable insights.

-- BERNAMA

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