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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Artificial intelligence is the next industrial revolution, says du chief

Saleem Al Balooshi says 5G will change the world forever

EITC's total revenues rose 6.4 per cent to Dh3.31 billion in the third-quarter. Ryan Carter / The National
EITC's total revenues rose 6.4 per cent to Dh3.31 billion in the third-quarter. Ryan Carter / The National

The introduction of 5G is set to revolutionise the world we live in, du’s chief infrastructure officer has claimed.

Saleem Al Balooshi said the next generation of cellular communication had the potential to be the biggest change to human life since the industrial revolution.

Speaking at Gitex Technology Week in Dubai this week, the telecom executive said 5G would allow for an unprecedented level of interaction between man and machine.

He added that the technology was now in its final stages of preparation, and could be rolled out across the UAE as early as the end of March 2019.

“It is going to allow us to connect billions of devices,” he said.

“We will see massive changes to society once 5G goes live. We will see major advancements in Artificial Intelligence in a matter of months after it is introduced as well. We will see practical applications that add value to both organisations and individuals.”

5G will be 10 times faster than the existing 4G technology, according to Mr Al Balooshi, and will enable rapid data transfer, energy saving and widespread data connectivity.

Mr Al Balooshi offered an example of how du is implementing 5G technology to improve its business model.

“We are working on automating and robotising our operations centre and we are doing this by using artificial intelligence,” he said.

“At the moment our operations centre is based on human manpower.”

Mr Al Balooshi said that du was in the process of collecting and organising data to build algorithms to help improve their services.

“Today, if there is an outage what happens is our network operation centre engineers identify the problem and perform specific actions based on their training,” he said.

“In the future, instead of an individual doing this activity it will be robotised which will save time. It will make us more efficient and agile when it comes to solving problems.”

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Many analysts and commentators have suggested a rising reliance on artificial intelligence will cost jobs. Mr Al Balooshi disagrees, however, arguing that the job market would evolve and adapt.

“I have no doubt that artificial intelligence will affect jobs,” he said.

“It will have the same impact that the industrial revolution had on the agriculture industry but, just like then, humans will be able to adapt to the challenges of a new market.”

He said that the rise of artificial intelligence will require people to be employed in areas including the accumulation of data.

“It will create jobs in more niche areas especially in science. It will create intellectual challenges and will be life-changing for many, many people and there will be tough questions about how the masses will be able to adjust to these challenges.”

Mr Al Balooshi said he had every confidence that people would be able to adjust to these challenges.

“Everything from job opportunities to education will need to be looked at but I think people will adapt,” he said.

“When the world entered the industrial revolution there was a period of adjustment, but then it evolved. The same will happen here - it just needs proper discussion.”