Iran to push for better AI in the country – The Jerusalem Post

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Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi held a meeting focusing on “big steps” in the field of artificial intelligence, Iran’s pro-government Tasnim News reported on Sunday. Iran has already invested in cyber capabilities, and the use of AI is one of the technologies many countries are now investing in.

The meeting provided an overview of issues, such as the “digital economy” and the steps Iran is taking in AI. Raisi held a discussion “with a group of virtual business activists in a meeting on Saturday afternoon,” the report noted, adding that he heard from 15 different business owners and discussed the current ecosystem for technology and innovation in Iran.

Iran is seeking to invest in training young people in these fields and to work in AI, which could have security and defense implications for the region. For now, Raisi is talking about economic growth and job creation. Iran is “increasing financial and legal support as well as providing a suitable environment for the presence and participation of the private sector in this field,” the report noted.

The Iranian leader also discussed the need for regulation in this field: “Creating a healthy, competitive and calm environment with easy access to domestic markets and foreigners is one of the essentials for the prosperity of the digital economy for the activists of this sector,” the Iranian president said, according to the report.This would all seem normal if one were discussing a Western democracy. In Iran, though, these types of economic investments also have implications for the country’s security state. This can include ties between companies and the regime and also ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

AI generated computer (credit: PIXABAY)
AI generated computer (credit: PIXABAY)

According to Iranian Economy Minister Ehsan Khandouzi, the country wants to train 100,000 people in the digital economy sector. According to the report, few business leaders took part in the meeting, most of whom do not have much of an online presence. Most were named in the report, including two female executives.

List of some of the meeting attendees

Those attending included Kazem Kayal, CEO of Yes Application; Mohammad Baqer Tabrizi, CEO of Quera Company; Mostafa Raipour, CEO of Digiton Company; Abbas Asgari Sari, CEO of Mohiman Company; Mohammad Sadoughi, CEO of Trabrand Company; Majid Hosseininejad, the founder of Alibaba Holding; Ali Hakim Javadi, who was recently elected chairman of the board of directors of Tehran’s Nasr Organization; Mohammad Mahdi Shariatmadar, CEO of JBit Company, involved in advertising and other businesses, as well as Mustafa Amiri, the CEO of Zarin Pal, who was elected recently in elections of the Computer Trade Union Organization of Tehran province.

Two attendees stand out; one of them was Alireza Abedinejad, the CEO of Doran Software Technologies, which was sanctioned in December 2023 as “a leading company in Iran assisting the government in censorship and filtering of the Internet.”

The other was Masoud Tabatabai, who was reportedly detained in February for having an offensive coffee mug. Tabatabai is the head of Iran’s largest online retailer, Digikala Group. According to IranWire, it is seen as Iran’s version of Amazon. His legal issues were resolved before the meeting with the president.

This report indicates that Iran is taking this initiative seriously – along with many other countries. AI has many uses, but it is not very well understood. At its base, it should involve machine learning and an interface between the user and the AI to improve decisions or processes. In many cases, it is used as a catchword for systems that don’t use AI but rather use various algorithms that don’t learn over time.

Nevertheless, Iran’s decision to invest more focus in these technologies matters. AI is increasingly used in defense industries. It can improve targeting and also work with electro-optics and other features that are increasingly employed to deal with the numerous sensors now on military platforms, such as drones and missiles.

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