Central Asia’s Future in AI Era: Experts Convene at Digital Bridge Tech Forum

ASTANA – Central Asia’s IT sector, its key characteristics, the role of human capital in AI development and the outlook for innovative cooperation among Asian states were discussed by experts at an Oct. 13 panel session at the Digital Bridge forum in Astana. 

The participants addressed challenges in the region’s IT industry, shared best practices, and stressed the importance of regional cooperation for both regional development and AI regulation.

The session, moderated by Firuzjon Sodikov, COO of Zypl.ai, included Azizjon Azimi, founder and CEO of Zypl.ai from Tajikistan, Yersultan Yermanov, Head of the IT Industry Development Department of the Ministry of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace, Davronbek Parmonov, Deputy Director of Aloqa Ventures from Uzbekistan and Aslan Sultanov, Managing Partner White Hill Capital. 

Discussing AI development in Central Asia, particularly in Tajikistan, Azimi highlighted the economic impact of AI on the region and underscored the significance of investing in technologies that yield long-term growth and human capital development to drive the AI industry forward.

Azimi outlined Tajikistan’s ambitious goal of generating $2 billion from the AI sector by 2040 and the four key pillars of their national AI strategy, which include talent development and model deployment (introducing AI use cases in various economic sectors).

“Another crucial aspect is data enhancement, an area in which Kazakhstan has excelled, establishing itself as a global leader, not only regionally but also on a global scale, in terms of electronic data accessibility. And the other one is a strong focus on Ethical AI, ensuring that AI implementations adhere to ethical principles and standards,” he said. 

Azim proposed the creation of a common AI space for Central Asia, suggesting that a united approach to AI regulation would harmonize investments among countries, facilitate chain implementations of AI, and create job opportunities.

Yermanov supported the idea of a united front in AI regulation but stressed Kazakhstan’s commitment to liberal regulation, aiming to foster development rather than strict control.

“We support the idea of maintaining our technological independence while further developing and training in AI. Regional collaboration presents a distinct opportunity for our region to experience rapid growth, and the AI sector is the technology that can elevate us to a new level of development,” he said.

Participants agreed that events like these not only facilitate the exchange of ideas but also create opportunities for investors. They expressed a shared vision for a successful technological future in the entire region.

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