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    Forum of “AI and the Fight against Covid-19: between challenges and opportunities” kicks off

    27 April 2020

    ICESCO Director General: Covid-19 has shown that world needs AI technology

    The Organization will support Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Member States within an ethical framework that respects human being

    ICESCO has launched many studies on the Post-Covid-19 scenarios

    Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, Director General of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), reaffirmed that the Organization would support Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Member States within an ethical framework that respects human being and the individual freedoms and privacies.  In turn, this technology becomes an advocate of peoples’ development without any prejudice to the ethical limits that infringe on human liberty and dignity.

    An excerpt from the ICESCO Director General’s address to the Virtual Forum “AI and the Fight against Covid-19: between challenges and opportunities”, organized today by ICESCO, in partnership with AI Civic Forum. The Forum explored AI potentials in countering natural disasters and health crises, including Covid-19, in addition to strategic foresight in this field.

    Dr. AlMalik stressed that the attention paid by ICESCO to the foresight and its technologies and sciences is based on tremendous and responsible awareness about the coming generations through the constructive and non-conformist intellectual methods without engaging in politics or politicization of the urgent humanitarian issues and challenges.  Also, supporting and giving paramount importance to innovation to build the future based on collective creative and intellectual foundations benefit the public in the short, medium and long terms.

    Additionally, ICESCO Director General stated that even before Covid-19 crisis the Organization has started to have an interest in the future and its prospects. “ICESCO established the Center of Strategic Foresight and developed a new vision based on proactive and anticipatory action in dealing with the development issues.

    ICESCO’s proactive action is evident by the launch of many studies on the post-Covid-19 scenarios and the future of the Islamic world among other strategic and anticipatory studies that aim to build the future,” he stressed.

    Dr. AlMalik further stated that “as we tackle the parameters of the future, we cannot overlook IA as one of the significant strategic interventions proven to promptly counter the pandemic crisis with the utilization of smart technology.

    Considering the huge role of AI in building the future, ICESCO has started to:

    -Disseminate its applications and technologies in Member States and friendly countries;

    -Conduct anticipatory strategic study on AI in the Islamic world;

    -Establish ICESCO AI Center;

    -Schedule workshops in cooperation with AI Civic Forum.

    Moreover, Dr. AlMalik stated that Covid-19 caused drastic effects on the daily lives of the various social groups, and obliged countries to adopt new methods that respond to the requirements of the health situations to the detriment of other vital areas. “This has brought new challenges that compel us to reconsider our perspective of the future as we seek solutions for this crisis.  A new mechanism points towards a more unified, fair, and equitable humanitarian approach in supporting the poor and vulnerable groups,” he stressed.

    Furthermore, Dr. AlMalik underscored that ICESCO, as the development beacon of the Islamic world, did not remain inactive before this pandemic. “The Organization has rather taken an active position based on proactive field action to support Member States, particularly those suffering from poverty and having weak health systems.  These efforts have yielded many achievements in record time.   Most notable among these practical initiatives and projects: ICESCO Prize for the Fight against Covid-19; the Comprehensive Humanitarian Coalition; ICESCO Digital Home; the establishment of several small factories for the production of low-cost sanitizers in the poorer countries, particularly in Africa; the distribution of a set of modern technological tools such as thermal cameras, distance thermometers, and AI applications to help stop the spread of the virus,” he added.

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