How to create value with generative AI

AI For Business

Abed Kasaji is the co-founder of US-based Anecdote, an AI-driven customer insight tool. Kasaji was previously his AI and Machine Learning Senior Product Manager at Careem.

A lot of ink has been spilled lately about AI shifting between excitement, shock, denial and, most importantly, fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of unemployment, fear of invasion of privacy. People’s fear of technology often stems from a lack of understanding and education. Learning more about how technology works and how it can be leveraged can help people overcome their fears and embrace the many benefits that technology offers.

While most people wonder about the impact of such technological developments, many companies are working to leverage these technologies to improve their experience and operations.

AI is projected to add up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to a PWC report, with the Middle East expected to account for 2% of all global AI gains, or $320 billion. .

How can Mena’s founders, companies and investors see this wave?

Localizing language-related challenges has always been a key differentiating strategy for Mena-based businesses. This is because of dialect diversity in the Arab world and the wider Middle East, and other challenges such as right-to-left writing and reading experience. Detect dialects and use them in chatbots and experiences.

I don’t think we need our own Arabic generative AI model to tackle these challenges. With the latest developments in generative AI by companies like his Arabic-focused OpenAI, solving specific challenges doesn’t seem to be a big enough differentiator for local companies to work on. Rather, it is better to focus on local business needs and leverage AI to solve those local challenges.

What are business leaders doing wrong?

We believe business leaders have very high and unrealistic expectations before experimenting with or running basic infrastructure. Work on the data side.

Take small steps, identify small experiences you can start with, and foster a culture of exchange Tasks, not people.

The region is not without its own local problems to solve, and businesses can do better to solve these specific problems. For example, e-commerce, payments and logistics can greatly benefit from applied AI solutions.

Anecdote’s founding members worked on Careem’s first AI team and led global applied AI teams at companies such as Meta, Cisco, and Wish.

At Anecdote, we have chosen to build a global product that is flexible enough to meet local challenges. To date, we’ve helped numerous companies leverage vast amounts of textual feedback and turn it into insights used by their product and experience teams. We have made a big impact on e-commerce, marketplaces and fintech organizations.

According to a Forrester report, 73% of the data is not used for analysis. This is an even bigger problem when it comes to unstructured data such as text and voice.

The insights these teams harnessed have enabled them to understand their customers like never before, reduce customer churn, create new products that customers love, and solve very local challenges.

Out-of-the-box AI algorithms are very useful for common tasks. While using them as a base, we have also built a number of our own algorithms that are well suited for the purpose of tackling our clients’ first and third party data.

Our founding team has ties to the region, but we were unable to find enough talent and capital density in the region to support our company. While we believe the region has a very rapidly emerging talent pool and sophisticated investors, our region still lacks the critical mass to produce deep tech.


  • Businesses and entrepreneurs should not hesitate to tackle many of the region’s existing challenges and use AI as a tool.

  • Invest in data infrastructure and a culture of experimentation before embracing the latest AI trends directly.

Edited by Nesma Abdel Azim

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