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Kingdom aims to leapfrog technical skills

Sok Chan / Khmer Times Share:
RAC’s President Sok Touch talks with leaders of Japanese Qibi Tech Co Ltd to study the possibility of enhancing cooperation on joint research and training in robotics and artificial intelligence at the Royal Academy of Cambodia. RAC

The president of the Royal Academy of Cambodia (RAC) met leaders of Japanese artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics firm Qibi Tech Co Ltd to study the possibility of enhancing cooperation in the Kingdom.

The initiative arose during a  video conference between RAC’s President Sok Touch and leaders of the Tokyo-headquartered business.

Touch said that both institutions agreed to cooperate with training
to be conducted at the RAC with support from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

AI is the ability of a computer programme or a machine to think and learn. It is also a field of study which tries to make computers “smart”. They work on their own without being encoded with commands.

Touch said the negotiations have just begun and both parties will learn from each other. He said the RAC wants to provide vocational training skills, robotics and teach Japanese to young people who are interested in aquiring such skills.

“After COVID-19 ends, Qibi will prepare a memorandum of understanding between the two institutions before we start the project,” he said.

Touch added that, at present, the use of AI or robotics has yet to be implemented in Cambodia, but in the future, they can replace some work currently performed by humans, particularly in high-risk areas.

“Although we do not use AI or robotics in our daily lives we cannot stay still or limit ourselves because the world now is reaching the fourth industrial revolution (4IR),” he said. “In the future, we can use AI or robotic in dangerous work such as the mining sector.

“We will train our human resources in the RAC then we will continue to provide training to young people,” he added.

The 4IR will expand consumer choice, lower costs and raise the quality of products and services. It will create new ways for citizens to connect to each other, trade and access services that are currently not available.

The RAC and Qibi  believe that with additional manufacturing processes such as 3D printing, many goods are now made at centralised locations operating at scale and producing standardised products but, in the future, long and complex supply chains will no longer be necessary because entire products can be built from scratch without the assembly of different components.

Jayant Menon, former Asian Development Bank lead economist on trade and regional cooperation, who is now visiting senior fellow at Singapore’s ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, pointed out previously that 4IR creates the opportunity for developing nations to bypass traditional phases of industrial development, a process known as “technological leapfrogging”.

“In countries such as Cambodia, where skilled labour is in short supply, 4IR can help provide access to technology being developed in other countries,” he said. Menon added that Cambodia should invest in information communications technology (ICT) to pave the way for technological innovation, while businesses need to accelerate efforts to implement digital, automated and connected processes and services.

Permanent Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economy and Finance Vongsey Vissoth said previously that all Asean members are now working together to make the most out of 4IR, including strengthening cooperation in the region.

“Cambodia will prepare its workforce through education in digital systems, while encouraging innovation. “But to successfully adapt to 4IR we also need both a soft and hard digital economic infrastructure. We need cheaper mobile broadband networks. We need to build the business skills of our people as well as our ICT infrastructure,” he said.

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