Kazakhstan’s Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said his country has identified the development of AI technology and big data analysis as one of the main development priorities. He said it is important for geographically large states to minimise “digital inequality” within the country, and “digital agglomeration” is becoming important.

Tokayev and Russian President Vladimir Putin took part in the main discussion of an AI conference “Artificial Intelligence — the Prime Technology of 21st Century” on December 4. The moderator Sberbank CEO Herman Gref.

In his speech, Tokayev said 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,” Tokayev said.

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.

Tokayev 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.

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.

Tokayev 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 Centre will bring together government agencies, business and industrial partners of Central Asia to develop regulatory standards in the implementation of innovative projects.

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,” Tokayev stressed.


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