Mirna Arif, General Manager of Microsoft Egypt, said that their goal is to provide organizations of all sizes and industries with the most advanced AI models. These models can help them increase productivity, reduce cost, advance business growth, and create more value. She also said that they are building a solid AI ecosystem with their partners and local startups, who are developing local AI use cases and driving transformation in the public and private sectors.
What are the latest AI advancements and how do they affect our work and life?
AI is a defining technology of our time. It is rapidly advancing in large models and generative AI, such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which are unlocking more possibilities across search, productivity, creativity, and various industries. We believe that AI is the next big shift in computing, similar to the personal computer, the internet, mobile devices, and the cloud. AI tools are helping people from different backgrounds and sectors, such as students, teachers, farmers, software developers, and security practitioners.
AI breakthroughs will change and augment how we work and live in a complex world. We are seeing a fast pace of change across industries and regions. Companies around the world are infusing AI into every business process and function to do more with less and find new ways to solve their challenges:
• Government: AI helps government agencies make informed decisions and deploy data-driven strategies to serve their citizens better, improve the quality of life, and deliver better services.
• Transportation: AI-powered predictive analytics optimize public transportation routes and schedules in real-time, reduce traffic congestion, enhance commuter experience, and minimize carbon emissions.
• Manufacturing: AI enables manufacturers to achieve agility, save costs, and increase resilience in supply chains.
• Energy: AI-powered solutions optimize yields and grids, improve safety, and reduce waste in the energy industry.
• Health & Life Sciences: Health and Life Sciences organizations use AI to support better health outcomes, enhance clinician experiences, and improve clinical and operational insights.
• Financial Services: Digital payment systems with AI fraud detection enhance financial security, promote cashless economies, improve financial inclusion, and boost economic growth in emerging markets.
• Retail & Consumer Goods: AI-powered retail and consumer goods solutions deliver more accessible customer experiences and better recommendations and customization, while also improving inventory and supply chain management.
• Education: AI offers significant opportunities in education, for example by providing a personal digital tutor to every child, helping democratize access to high-quality education.
How does Microsoft use AI in its products and services, and what other advancements will it include shortly?
Microsoft has been an AI company for a long time. It has invested in AI research and the cloud for decades. It aims to democratize its AI breakthroughs through Azure and help people and organizations be more productive and solve the most pressing problems of society. It has partnered with OpenAI since 2019 to accelerate AI innovation and scale the latest AI technologies responsibly. It uses OpenAI technology in its products, such as Bing, Microsoft365 Copilot, GitHub Copilot, and PowerApps Ideas, and through Azure OpenAI Service, which is part of the Azure AI platform. It envisions a world where everyone will have a copilot for everything they do, regardless of their profession.
What opportunities will AI unlock for organizations in Egypt?
Microsoft powers billions of AI experiences every day through its products and services, enabling industries to achieve more at scale and more easily. Over 85% of Fortune 100 companies use Azure AI as a catalyst for change and innovation. Over 1000 organizations from startups to multinational corporations are applying the capabilities of Azure OpenAI Service– including ChatGPT, GPT-3.5, Codex, and DALL*E, to create cutting-edge applications. Microsoft’s goal in Egypt is to provide organizations of all sizes and industries with the most advanced AI models. Organizations in Egypt are already using AI to innovate and develop their digital capabilities. For example:
• The Egyptian Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center uses AI to produce high-quality statistics & analytics to power data-driven national strategies.
• The upcoming Grand Egyptian Museum leverages the latest AI breakthroughs to enrich visitor experiences.
• In healthcare, Roche utilizes Azure AI solutions to optimize the patient’s journey beyond treatment and aid early diagnosis of diseases.
• The Egyptian judiciary utilizes Azure AI solutions for processing legal procedures and providing solutions for faster decision-making.
• Financial services firm EFG Hermes leverages the power of AI to enhance customer and employee experiences, achieve cost efficiency, and improve security.
How does Microsoft drive a positive impact with AI in Egypt and build trust in its use?
Microsoft is optimistic about the potential of AI for people, industry, and society. It also ensures that the technology is used responsibly. It drives responsible AI innovation in Egypt by partnering with local authorities to develop AI national policies that address privacy, data, and security issues and meet the needs and aspirations of the people. For Microsoft, trust involves inclusive economic growth, a sustainable future, and policies and practices around security, privacy, responsible AI, and transparency.
ï AI Skilling: To ensure that everyone has access to the economic opportunities and skills presented by AI, Microsoft has launched several nationwide AI skilling initiatives.
As part of its global Skill for Jobs Initiative, Microsoft launched a new AI Skills initiative to help people and communities worldwide improve their AI fluency. In Egypt, it offers this as part of its ‘Tawar w 3’ayar’ initiative launched 10 years ago with the Ministry of Youth & Sports and the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to provide Egyptian youth with future-ready skills.
Microsoft also supports the Tamayuz National Skilling initiative with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, which equips IT professionals, developers, startups, fresh graduates, and job seekers with the skills they need to succeed in an AI-enabled world.
It collaborates with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology on its Digital Egypt Builders Initiative (DEBI) by supporting young graduates as they hone their technical skills in digital technologies including AI.
It works closely with the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) to support the development of young talents and IT professionals and enhance their access to the job market and employability.
ï Responsible AI: Microsoft is committed to partnering with the government to create adequate policy frameworks to govern AI and ensure that it is used responsibly. It applauds the government’s effort to launch the Egyptian Charter for Responsible AI which is a milestone in the path of AI governance in Egypt.
The Charter is consistent with Microsoft AI Principles which are: fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability. Microsoft puts those principles into practice across the company to develop and deploy AI that will have a positive impact on society.
ï AI for Good: Microsoft also works to amplify the use of its AI technologies to address pressing societal challenges, including environmental sustainability. During COP27, it established a Government Center of Excellence for Emissions Accounting and Reporting in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to enable authorities to leverage the power of AI to digitally record, measure, and report carbon emissions. It also expanded its global AI for Good Research Lab into Egypt, as well as its collaboration with Planet Labs PBC to accelerate climate adaptation solutions.
We have also launched Hudhud, an Arabic AI Farmer Virtual Assistant App to facilitate real-time guidance and data on agricultural best practices to more than 50 million farmers covering 70% of farming land across the country.