Israel invests heavily in Artificial Intelligence for the public sector

In a few years, Israel has become a technology hub that serves various fields in the country, both the private sector and the public. Artificial intelligence (AI), therefore, has taken a prominent place in the future plans of the country which is working to implement a national strategy on artificial intelligence which must serve, among others, the fields of agriculture and the fight against change. climatic. Explanations with Tom Dan, Deputy Director General at the Israeli Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology.

MoroccoLatestNews interviewed Tom Dan, who is also a board member of the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) about his work, including climate change efforts and a sustainable agriculture. He is currently leading the Israeli government’s program for the establishment of a national strategy on artificial intelligence, including regulation, ethics and the implementation of AI in government work.

It also works to advance human capital in Israel’s tech sector and achieve the government’s goal of increasing workforce participation in the tech sector to 15% of the total workforce.

MoroccoLatestNews. How can artificial intelligence improve the work or efficiency of institutions?

Tom Dan: Artificial intelligence has the power to help the Ministry of Health improve the work of doctors: algorithms can understand MRI images and help radiologists identify tumors more easily. This can help the overburdened welfare system understand which child needs a social worker and may be at risk.

It can also help the Ministry of Finance to determine who is evading taxes, and the Ministry of Agriculture to identify crops that will fail due to climate change over the next 30 years and help farmers to adapt. These examples are real and have already been implemented or will be in the years to come.

You are leading your government’s work to implement a national artificial intelligence strategy. What are the main objectives of this strategy? And why is it important to start looking at these kinds of new technologies on a national scale?

When we got there, we looked at several international AI standards that put Israel at the top of AI R&D, AI startups, AI knowledge (9th in the world in Stanford’s Vibrancy ranking, 5th in the world in the Tortoise ranking), but at the same time we were ranked low on government strategy, infrastructure and regulation. And that is what the program sets out to do.

It consists of 6 pillars, through government implementation, a $500 billion plan to implement AI tools in the daily work of the public sector to improve service to Israeli citizens.

Research, human capital and infrastructure whose aim is to promote better infrastructure related to AI such as setting up a supercomputer / HPC, increasing the number of university doctors in the field and setting up grants for AI research in academia.

There is a regulatory goal: We have already published Israel’s draft AI regulations. The document adopts the AI ​​principles of the OECD with adjustments to the Israeli context, refuses to put in place a global law on AI as is the case in the EU, opting instead for the promotion of each regulator (in transport, health, education, etc.) to regulate their specific needs, and establishes a government center to support these regulators.

International collaboration is also a pillar as this will allow playing an active role in the development of global regulations on AI for example through the OECD, GPAI, EU and Council of Europe , and set up dozens of bilateral agreements and collaborations on AI, including with the United States and Singapore, France, the United Kingdom and, hopefully, also Morocco!

For the industry pillar, the objective is to pursue plans to promote the AI ​​technology industry and startups. And finally, when it comes to data governance, it’s about ensuring that databases can be made available for AI purposes.

Israel is becoming a hub of innovation and technology, but what is the place of climate in this ecosystem?

We “must” work very hard to create the incredible tools that our innovation and technological capabilities are creating to help fight climate change and do our part. Not out of the goodness of our hearts, but because we, and many others, will suffer badly if we don’t!

Artificial intelligence or technology in a broader spectrum can help implement and develop sustainable agriculture. Are there any projects launched in Israel in this area?

Yes! Agriculture is one of the main pilot areas that we are targeting in this national AI program. I mentioned crop identification, but there are more projects on that.

The ministry, in incredible work led by its chief scientist Michal Levy, is also working in northern Israel to make agricultural data available to AI algorithms so that farmers can have a better understanding of weather conditions, crop diseases, pests, etc.

How do you think climate technology can meet the challenges ahead? What are the main concerns in this area for your country?

Climate technology will have to work overtime to meet the challenges of the future, but I am confident that it will.

There was a famous 18th century British economist named Thomas Malthus who looked at the amount of agricultural crops in the UK, the rapid growth in the number of people and did the math. He came to the alarming conclusion that the population of the UK is growing t that there will not be enough food for everyone and people will die. This turned out to be 100% wrong for the UK, and the reason was that they forgot about the immense power of technology.

New agricultural techniques, tractors and steam engines, mass production and many other innovations helped to multiply the food supply and meet all the needs of the growing population. Likewise with climate change, the outlook is very bleak, but I am confident that with strong universities, startups, tech and R&D companies, we will find ways to mitigate its effects.

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