The importance of technological innovation

Ever since the industrial revolution took place, the continuous technological innovation has revolutionized not only our daily personal lives but also the global cultural and economic outline. It has always had a pivotal role as the key preprocessor to the tremendous industrial progress. Today, we are even talking self-driven cars and self-sufficient human-like robots thanks to the state-of-the-art technology of “Artificial Intelligence” (AI).

AI is the most featured and sought technology today; it has already been invading our world through our simple use of electronics as smartphones and computers, and will very soon improve most of the mechanisms in our lives, from the machines we use to an open heart surgery we may undergo.

It is making individuals’ lives way easier and simpler, and since the perpetual quest of humans is the search for comfort and gaining more through investing less effort, AI comes right in place to fulfill it. Thus, AI is definitely a goldmine of profit, and if exploited well, businesses that utilize it are more likely to make much more interest. In fact, that’s what explains the fact that the biggest companies in the world today are investing unimaginable sums of money in AI research during 2018, such as Google ($3.9 billion), Amazon ($871 million), etc.

AI is unexploited in Tunisia

Let’s not forget though that AI is tangibly accessible by any individual today, since it is some blocks of code and sets of data in the end. Most of us can learn about AI and ML (Machine Learning) on the Internet or take classes on that subject. In fact, Tunisian colleges are increasingly putting strong emphasis on AI/ML in their educational programs, especially for IT students. But since we do have all these privileges, why is AI still unexploited in Tunisia?

In an incredibly advanced world we can say that we are still back ahead in terms of technology just by having a glance at our Tunisian administration or even factories. Yet, several Tunisian companies can’t help but invest in AI due to the highly competitive market.

The problem in Tunisia is, on one hand, the seriously grave brain-drain. This issue seems to be totally irrevocable since it has always been there and is constantly growing. Tunisian companies of all kinds today are truly suffering from the lack of experts, professionals and researchers who can actually innovate or implement new technological methods. Let’s be realistic, we can’t seek technological development if all the engineers and scientists around us are flying the coop for one reason or another!

On the other hand, we technically still haven’t advanced research tools to implement AI. We sure are moving towards that, but unfortunately with a snail’s speed.

We actually need a serious commitment and investment in new high tech because otherwise, we are going to be left behind and very off-track in a world that’s going to welcome quantum computing tech in the few upcoming years.

The persistence of companies on the global market and the role of AI in it

That leads us to also elaborate on why while some companies achieve high levels of success, others turn out to be a fiasco and are then lost in oblivion.

Other than a poor management and decision making, we will target the way the lack of innovation has been the reason why several large companies have failed. These companies have either missed out on some paramount technological feats or stayed in their comfort zone of being the leader in a certain domain. For instance, Kodak, the company that used to rule the photographic film market announced its bankruptcy in 2012 because it didn’t go with the flow of the digital revolution. The same goes for Nokia which was the first to create a cellular network in the world then couldn’t catch up on the revolution of smartphones. Meanwhile, Apple, Samsung and Huawei (among many others) have blown up. These giant companies are very serious about being up to date and leading the tech world, and they are making AI their trustworthy mean to get to the top. Hence, it is crystal clear that Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, alongside with Big Data are the way to go in order to grow a strongly-based business that is most likely to succeed and especially persist on a dangerously competitive and dynamic market.

As Tunisian students and professionals, can we still hope to build our own Silicon Valley built upon AI? Or is it still a utopian unrealistic wish?