Pakistan’s AI Push Amidst Crypto Ban: Balancing Innovation and Regulation

Pakistan's AI growth against crypto backdrop, intricate details of AI integration, golden sunset casting soft shadows, optimism in embracing AI for agriculture & health, focus on knowledge-based economy, contrasting mood with crypto ban, delicate balance between innovation & regulation.

Just days after stating that cryptocurrencies will “never be legalized” in the nation, the Ministry of IT & Telecom in Pakistan has drafted a policy aimed at fostering the growth of artificial intelligence (AI). By implementing a national AI policy, Pakistan seeks to transform itself into a knowledge-based economy through investment in AI and related technologies, as well as upskilling its human capital.

This policy framework highlights Pakistan’s eagerness to incorporate AI for the betterment of the public and the country as a whole. To achieve this, Pakistan has outlined 15 objectives with deadlines varying from 2023 to 2028. In order to support these initiatives, the country plans to establish a National AI Fund by utilizing the Ministry of IT & Telecom’s “underutilized resources and funds.”

The targeted uses for AI in Pakistan include areas such as weather prediction, agriculture supply chain optimization, and health services transformation, among others. In developing its AI policies, the Pakistani government is adopting an inclusive approach by welcoming feedback from the general public until June 16th, 2023.

Pakistan’s ban on cryptocurrencies, however, stems primarily from the requirements set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). Consequently, Pakistan remains excluded from FATF’s gray list. Although FATF does not hold the authority to impose sanctions on non-compliant countries, it can influence government and corporate policies worldwide. As a result, complying with FATF standards could lead to Pakistan securing a bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Critics argue that, while prioritizing AI in the country is a step in the right direction, the blanket ban on cryptocurrencies may prove to be a missed opportunity. Crypto enthusiasts believe that the integration of blockchain technology into essential sectors, such as the financial industry, could stimulate economic development and innovation.

In contrast, supporters of the ban argue that, given the potential risks associated with digital currencies – such as money laundering, fraud, and financial instability – it is necessary for the government to focus on more regulated industries, like AI.

As Pakistan pushes forward with its national AI policy while maintaining a ban on cryptocurrencies, it remains to be seen how the balance between embracing innovation and upholding regulatory concerns will play out. It’s essential to pay close attention to both the opportunities and risks that come with implementing these disruptive technologies on a nationwide scale, while keeping in mind the country’s broader economic and social goals.

Source: Cointelegraph

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