AI, data science can yield rich dividends - SLASSCOM chief | Sunday Observer

AI, data science can yield rich dividends - SLASSCOM chief

Jeevan Gnanam
Jeevan Gnanam

The business community and the corporate sector should understand that Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science are new, rapidly developing fields offering novel business opportunities. Collaborating with the IT industry and start-ups will yield rich dividends for both, Chairman, Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies (SLASSCOM), Jeevan Gnanam said.

SLASSCOM organised the first-ever AI Asia Summit in Colombo last week which exclusively discussed the topics of Data Science and Machine Learning with many acclaimed international and local speakers outlining the latest developments in AI across application, research and adoption.

Sri Lanka’s IT/BPM industry for the past two decades has predominantly focussed on two key areas for export earnings; that is software development and finance and accounting. Over the years the industry has grown positively with some of the major global partners, making Sri Lanka one of the key destinations for IT/BPM business.

“The time has come for us to shift gears and diversify our business areas following the global demand for AI and data science based businesses,” Gnanam told the ‘Business Observer’ on the sidelines of AI Asia Summit in Colombo.

“We believe Sri Lanka has great potential to be a leader in data science and AI field in the region in the next few years if we focus on creating AI culture and creating the right eco system in the country,” he added.

SLASSCOM in collaboration with the Centre for Data Science, Department of Statistics, University of Colombo recently launched educational programs on Fundamentals of Data Science as a first step in creating a culture of data science and AI education in Sri Lanka.

The course fee for this program is subsidised through the National Export Strategy (NES) initiatives through the Export Development Board (EDB) and SLASSCOM.

During a major investor forum in Colombo in September, Gnanam said, Sri Lanka’s IT industry was confident that they could achieve the export revenue target of the ICT industry which is USD 5 billion by 2022, as the industry is now focusing on more business based on data-science and AI. - CJ