AI in education, training seen as big opportunity for Sri Lanka

ECONOMYNEXT – Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in education and training presents big opportunities for Sri Lanka, said Yasantha Rajakarunanayake, a senior technologist and scientist.

AI can help the island go beyond merely providing software and information technology services at a lower cost than elsewhere, he told an AI forum held by the Sri Lanka Association for Software and Services Companies.

“Artificial Intelligence will change the entire educational landscape,” said Rajakarunanayake, Senior Director – Technology of MediaTek, a Taiwanese firm that makes chips for computers and communications devices.

“Education and training are huge opportunities for Sri Lanka,” he told the SLASSCOM AI Asia Summit about potential applications of AI for Sri Lanka.

“AI can make learning fun and productive which is very relevant for Sri Lanka.”

Rajakarunanayake said AI can provide learning programs customised for individual students which human teachers can’t do.

Use of AI tools can help students who lag behind their peers in subjects like mathematics catch up in later grades.

AI is known as the 4th industrial revolution and presents a whole new paradigm which means previous accomplishments don’t matter, Rajakarunanayake said.

“Companies that did well in the previous paradigm may not necessarily do well in the new  one,” he said.

“Sri Lanka has plenty of opportunity and need not be in the IT arbitrage game but aim to solve important problems in the world in health care, transportation, energy and agriculture.”





AI was also transforming medicine, said Rajakarunanayake, who has with over 23 years of experience in innovation and creating software products.

“As AI becomes smart we will have AI doctors,” he said, noting that already machine learning tools can detect certain types of cancers with the same or higher accuracy levels of human radiologists.

Rajakarunanayake, however, also advocated caution, saying AI tools can sometimes be fooled and were vulnerable to hacking.

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