AI 2024: Is Malaysia missing the tech train?

05 Jan 2024 08:00pm
Pix for illustration purpose only. - Photo by 123RF
Pix for illustration purpose only. - Photo by 123RF

COMPETITION in 2024 opened its curtains five days ago.

This year, artificial intelligence or AI and ChatGPT were sure to be once again hailed as the most influential creations in the world of technology.

The author predicted that AI will dominate the agendas of conglomerates and global companies.

In fact, an international technology podcast research team and information technology (IT) professionals, CompTIA Volley, summarise AI as the main focus of discussions throughout 2023 and this year.

The company also reviewed the need for cybersecurity, robust defences, cloud computing and service delivery throughout 2024.

The author agreed with CompTIA Volley's summary.

AI met the demands of conglomerates and large global companies in the post-Covid-19 pandemic era.

However, the Industry IT Survey Report 2024 shocked the author.

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Apparently, only 22 per cent of organisations tend to consistently use AI to advance their companies.

Now, that figure was still low! What about the fate of AI in Malaysia?

Do large companies in this country widely use AI? Or is AI only a conversation and a 'toy' for conglomerates in the West, Japan, China, or South Korea?

The author believed that until now, no figures have explained the development of AI in Malaysia.

Meanwhile, conglomerates and large global companies have made AI and ChatGPT their top agenda throughout 2023.

This top agenda will be continued and strengthened in 2024.

In Malaysia, AI can meet the demand for high-tech skills that were increasing in various sectors.

The author saw a high demand for traditional skills such as IT support, infinite control engineering, network administration and database administration.

There was also a demand for data science experts or cybersecurity architects.

Today's job roles required various levels of digital proficiency.

Mastering AI and digital skills will ensure the sustainability of conglomerates and companies.

High skills in social media, cybersecurity, digital-related components, big data and advanced digital-based manufacturing will lead conglomerates and companies to generate more annual revenue.

As a starting point, conglomerates and companies in this country needed to embrace a culture of innovation and lifelong learning.

Encourage employees to learn new skills and technologies. Always accept global AI changes openly.

Conglomerates and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this country must also invest in employee training and development.

Always offer AI-related technology training programmes, cloud computing and cybersecurity.

A cultural environment willing to share knowledge about AI among department staff will ensure that the industry in this country stayed in the global high-tech skills agenda.

If not, Malaysia will continue to lag in the global AI and ChatGPT top agenda!

Do not feel 'small' to start the AI sector. Conglomerates and companies in the country can start with AI pilot projects.

In this way, conglomerates and SMEs in the country will eventually have a dynamic team of AI technology experts.

Offer reasonable salary packages to attract and retain skilled technology professionals.

Encourage applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities (PWDs) to ensure inclusivity in every aspect.

Most interestingly, the author suggests that industries in this country collaborate with universities and technical training institutes to strengthen Malaysia's Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector.

The government can offer grants and subsidies to encourage public and private higher education institutions to strengthen AI.

Offer these incentives to industry agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

The government must update technology policies to ensure the flourishing of AI among conglomerates and companies in this country.

In conclusion, AI and ChatGPT will always dominate the 2024 agenda. Malaysia must participate in this agenda.

Dr Ir Muhidin Arifin is the chief operating officer of the Selangor Technical Skills Development Centre (STDC).

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of Sinar.