Home » Generative AI: The Driving Force for Sustainability and Scalability in the Region

Generative AI: The Driving Force for Sustainability and Scalability in the Region

by Madaline Dunn

In less than a year, we’ve gone from the “run your business and apply AI to help” paradigm to a reality where enterprises in every industry are navigating how to embed AI into the fabric of their strategies. Generative AI based on foundation models has brought us to this inflection point. Strategy& Middle East has predicted that the GCC region could attain around $10 of economic growth for every $1 invested in Generative AI.

Today, Generative AI can be applied to an array of use cases, such as sorting and classifying written input, transforming domain-specific text into personalized summaries, identifying, and extracting essential information from unstructured data, and generating code, marketing content and more.

There are a few key areas that are relevant to most enterprises and are ripe for quick gains in productivity and time to value:

· Talent: HR departments are embracing Generative AI to manage their workloads more efficiently. By training their models with company-specific HR data, HR professionals can use AI to help with tasks like creating job postings, summarizing groups of incoming resumes and helping professionals better understand new policy documents.

· Customer care: Organizations can combine customer data and Generative AI to create personalized experiences at scale through chatbots and digital assistants. AI has been successful in handling call center calls, to improve service and enable human agents to focus on more complex tasks.

· Application modernization: Engineers can use AI to generate and build upon starter code and playbooks. In fact, in the realm of application modernization and enterprise IT operations, this can be linked to an increase in productivity.

Navigating Sustainability Goals through Generative AI

Another key area where Generative AI is especially critical is scaling sustainability fast. Modernizing IT environments with AI implementation, green IT solutions, and advanced analytics platforms becomes pivotal in achieving sustainability goals.

The Middle East’s commitment to sustainability objectives has come into the limelight as the UAE hosts the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) later this month. With the UAE declaring 2023 as the Year of Sustainability and pledging Net Zero by 2050, CEOs recognize sustainability as a top challenge. Forward-thinking organizations see sustainability not as a hindrance but as an opportunity to drive business and establish transparency.

The potential of Generative AI lies in its ability to process vast volumes of data, extract context from the data, and allow stakeholders to query and interact with it using natural language. We are starting to see the adoption of Generative AI applications by companies aiming to address new sustainability challenges. Some enterprises have already initiated efforts in this direction.

· The first among these is processing information already compiled in environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) reports. A company could combine purchase order information with a supplier’s ESG report. For example, if you know you’re responsible for half of a supplier’s turnover you can use their ESG reports to estimate your responsibility for scope 3 emissions.

· For investors interested in green finance, AI could process ESG reports in bulk to create a recommended shortlist of companies with a stronger environmental posture. In an advanced use case, generative AI models fine-tuned with a company’s sustainability policies could power an advisor application for activities such as supplier selection.

AI Governance embedded at every step

As companies adopt Generative AI in these new use cases, they also need to pay attention to a new set of risks that are emerging, ranging from potential privacy concerns to a lack of factuality. A Responsible AI approach and an AI Governance framework are both needed to ensure guardrails are in place for the responsible use of both classic and generative AI. At IBM, we recently announced the availability of watsonx.governance in December – a “nutrition label” for AI that will help AI to meet upcoming safety and transparency regulations and policies worldwide while managing, monitoring and governing AI models from IBM, open source communities, and other model providers.

Today, Generative AI stands at the forefront of innovation, offering businesses a transformative tool to navigate sustainability goals and scale operations responsibly. By automating critical processes, extracting meaningful insights from data, and empowering decision-making, generative AI paves the way for a more sustainable future.

By Saad Toma, General Manager, IBM Middle East and Africa.

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