Generative AI in the Middle East

Generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) is expected to become one of the most significant developments in the emerging technologies that have launched us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Generative AI represents an evolution of AI technology that has the ability to develop content such as images, videos, or text in response to user-generated inputs and prompts. Characterized as a subset of machine learning, and recently popularized by the rise of Open AI’s ChatGPT, generative AI’s plethora of applications have prompted individual users and governments alike to find ways to utilize and benefit from the technology.

A recent report by Strategy& Middle East, part of the PwC group, estimates that generative AI has the potential to significantly influence economic growth across the Middle East, and estimates US $23.5 billion in annual economic growth by 2030 across GCC states. This estimate predicts that for every US$1 invested in generative AI, the return on that investment would translate to approximately US$9.9 of economic growth. Saudia Arabia and the UAE are expected to be at the forefront of the generative AI revolution with numerous industries expected to undergo transformations, including media, healthcare, banking, and IT. The possibilities, however, are virtually endless.

As regional countries race to capitalize on the untapped potential of generative AI, it will be important to consider the non-economic impacts of the technology on other sectors and industries that may adopt it, and to assess their effects on safety and security. Amongst some of the biggest security risks emanating from applications of generative AI are increased risks of data breaches and leaks, creation of network vulnerabilities, inaccurate outputs that can negatively impact decision-making, and malicious use of the technology that can create deepfakes. In order for the region to constructively leverage the technology for greater gains that don’t come at the expense of security, this will need to be coupled with the development of effective AI governance strategies that can regulate the technology and its applications.

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