Rabat: Dr. Mohamed Aslim is one of the most pioneering Arab researchers in digital culture and literature, the cyber world and how fast-changing, cutting-edge technology is reshaping these global themes, especially Artificial Intelligence, or AI.
The prolific author is interested in a wide range of subjects from sociology to death, via themes including magic and religion. He is also an active presence on social media.
Al Majalla spoke to him about the ongoing digital revolution and the challenges it poses and the potential consequences for humanity, including the implications for intellect, culture, and life in general.
What is your opinion about the current spike in AI programs and their relentless competition to attract audiences and localise content to adapt to new markets?
Well, the current spike can be attributed to developments in the computer’s deep learning and calculation capabilities, as well as to the abundance of data.
Regarding fierce competition, it can be attributed to the expansion of digital device users, particularly smartphones, and the fact that the internet is a transnational network that facilitates the formation of a global market. Will these applications succeed in winning over a large part of the potential market? The answer to that depends on the users themselves, and on local regulations in each country.
What do these new applications offer, and what are the prospects of their use and the advantages they provide over those that have been in use so far?
These applications have several advantages compared to conventional information software.
For instance, they learn automatically without the need for programming, and they are capable of processing natural languages. These new applications are capable of understanding human language and composing new texts, as in the case of AI-generated chats.
They can also recognise pictures and video clips, which enables their use in several beneficial ways, such as surveillance, security, and the provision of diagnoses based on medical data.
To sum up, these applications are capable of predicting things and making decisions based on the analysis of large amounts of data. Hence, they are undoubtedly very beneficial in sectors such as finance, health, logistics, and supply chain management, for example.
An additional advantage is customisation, which entails using data to provide each individual user with personalised experiences. A further advantage of these applications is the automation of tasks, as AI is capable of carrying out repetitive work activities that, due to their complication, usually require a lot of time and effort from humans to complete them.
This situation enables companies to make more profits in terms of their activity and productivity while minimising the risk of human error.
How do you think AI will affect literature, literary creativity, and the book industry in general? Are we going to witness a new revolution on the scale of Gutenberg's invention of the printing press?
AI’s effect on literature and the book industry is already tangible, and in a sense, it is right to say that a new revolution in that respect is taking place.
For example, AI applications enable the creation of content by generating stories, novels, and poems. Additionally, they can identify the taste of each reader based on his or her interests, and accordingly, recommend books that appeal to readers of the same inclination or that fit the reader’s personal preferences in terms of the literary genre and style.
At any rate, it is highly unlikely in the short to medium terms that artificial intelligence would replace the printed book, but undoubtedly AI is capable of changing the way we author books and the subjects we choose to write about.