Hasit Trivedi is the CTO of digital technologies and global head of AI at Tech Mahindra
Generative artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to lead the next level of growth and unveil new realms of productivity. With the ability to replace traditional operations with tech-powered operations, generative AI can further revolutionise how we live, play, and do business. According to industry reports, generative AI can add up to $4.4 trillion value to the global economy annually.
In today's rapidly evolving business landscape, enterprises across the Middle East are constantly seeking innovative ways to gain a competitive edge. One such avenue is the integration of generative AI into their operations. The region has recognised the significance of this technology and has made substantial investments to boost the National AI Strategy 2031. Further, the region has invested heavily in the development of AI infrastructure, nurturing talent, shaping industry regulations, conducting research, and establishing various centres of excellence. According to a report by PwC, AI has the potential to contribute $320 billion to the Middle East economy by 2030, with the UAE leading the way with a projected contribution of $96 billion.
Disrupting the creator economy
AI has been, so far, able to predict, detect, converse, recommend, and observe. Now, with the advent of generative AI, it can also generate content. Thus, the creator economy is now experiencing a seismic shift, and generative AI is the driving force behind this transformation. From content creation to customer engagement, generative AI is altering how creators operate.
It possesses the remarkable ability to generate content, code, images, video, audio, and more. It helps enterprises across industries create personalised content, analyse audience behaviour, and optimise their strategies to enhance efficiency, productivity, and ultimately, business outcome. This shift with generative AI is not just about using it as a tool, it is about infusing AI into the creative processes, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the creator economy. Thus, with generative AI, code creators, content creators, and response creators are disrupted, while product design creators and knowledge creators are amplified.
Based on PwC’s Global Artificial Intelligence Study, the largest affected industry is likely to be media and entertainment, with an annual impact of $8.5 billion of likely economic impact across the GCC region, followed by banking and financial services at $3.5 billion, healthcare at $3.8 billion, with IT and telecommunications at $2.9 billion.
The Middle East is a diverse territory that encompasses countries with varying levels of economic development and industrial sectors. In recent years, there has been a visible shift in the business landscape driven by several factors. For example, many Middle East countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have embarked on ambitious economic diversification programmes to lower their dependency on oil and gas. These efforts have led to rising investments in sectors like technology, renewable energy, and tourism. Secondly, the Middle East has witnessed a rapid adoption of technology across industries. Companies are increasingly embracing digital transformation to enhance efficiency and customer experience. E-commerce, fintech, and smart cities are some of the tech-driven sectors that are flourishing. The region also aims to become a global business hub.
Bringing a competitive edge
Generative AI can be a strategic asset for businesses in the Middle East. It offers several advantages that are particularly relevant to the current industry scenario:
Content creation: Quality content is crucial for every business. Generative AI can assist in creating compelling content, which not only saves time and brings efficiency but also ensures a consistent and professional presence. For example, it can help marketing and advertising teams by generating articles, social media posts, product descriptions, and more, enabling creators to produce high-quality content with minimal effort.
Data-driven decision making: Generative AI can process vast amounts of data and generate valuable insights, and can help businesses unleash knowledge accessibility uniquely, eventually improving the knowledge quotient within organisations. This aids Middle East enterprises in making data-driven decisions, which are crucial in today's complex business environment. For example, a retail business can leverage AI to analyse customer data and tailor their marketing strategies accordingly.
Automation and efficiency: Businesses can automate repetitive tasks with generative AI, freeing up employees to focus on higher-value tasks. This not only reduces operational costs but also accelerates processes. In industries like manufacturing, AI-driven robots can improve productivity. Moreover, using IT operational tools powered by generative AI, IT support engineers can deliver complex AI and analytics projects faster and more effectively.
Customer personalisation: In sectors like e-commerce and hospitality, personalisation is key to attracting and retaining customers. Generative AI can analyse customer preferences and behaviour to create personalised experiences, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. UAE-based businesses, such as airlines and e-commerce platforms, can employ generative AI-driven chatbots to handle routine customer inquiries. For instance, airlines are using chatbots to assist travelers with booking flights and providing travel information, reducing the burden on customer support teams.
Enhanced cybersecurity and bias-free workplace: The Middle East is not immune to cybersecurity threats. Generative AI can strengthen security measures by identifying vulnerabilities and predicting potential cyber attacks, ensuring the safety of sensitive data. It can also play a critical role in filtering out bias in various processes in the workplace such as hiring, promotions, and performance evaluations. However, for that, it is essential to monitor and safeguard AI datasets from biases. AI systems leverage data sets for carrying out tasks, hence it is imperative to prevent those data sets from human and societal biases. By leveraging neutral AI algorithms to analyse data, organisations can identify and filter out discriminatory patterns of bias based on gender, color, race, age, etc. thereby ensuring that decisions are objective. This can help foster a fair and inclusive work culture that leads to higher employee engagement and satisfaction and better teamwork.
Multilingual capabilities: The Middle East is linguistically diverse, with many companies needing to communicate in multiple languages. Generative AI can provide real-time translation services, making international business dealings more accessible and efficient.
Compliance and regulation: Many Middle East countries are implementing stricter regulatory standards. Generative AI can assist companies in ensuring compliance with these regulations, reducing legal risks.
Innovation and product development: Generative AI can assist in the research and development process, helping businesses create innovative products and services that cater to evolving market demands. It can assist in product innovation by generating design ideas, simulations, and prototypes. This is particularly valuable for technology-driven industries in the Middle East, such as robotics and IoT.
In conclusion, generative AI is a powerful tool that can give Middle East enterprises a significant competitive edge. Its ability to streamline processes, enhance communication, and drive innovation can transform the way businesses operate in the region. However, it is important to remember that while AI can automate many tasks, human oversight and ethical considerations are essential for responsible and effective use. As the Middle East continues to embrace generative AI, it has the potential to lead the way in technological innovation and economic growth.