Acing the AI

Acing  the AI

Visionary entrepreneur and tech-expert Ameen Altajer talks about the intriguing world of Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The advent of AI in the business sector has its influences spread on a global scale. And the Kingdom of Bahrain, a tech-loving and innovative country, has already made its mark in the field with the founding of INFINITEWARE, the first company in the country that specializes in AI technology.

In an interview with BiG Magazine, Mr. Ameen Altajer, the brilliant mind behind INFINITEWARE, shares the challenges he faced, his insight on Bahrain’s tech industry and if AI, in general, is beneficial for humankind.

Did you go to University in Bahrain or abroad?

I’ve studied Computer Science at the University of Bahrain (UOB) back in 2006. After that, I got the chance to work in the US for several years and afterward in Saudi Aramco.

What motivated you to become a tech-trepreneur?

I’ve got a life-long passion for software and for building things that really make real value to people. The software has been my language ever since, and I’m happy that my technical skills in artificial intelligence and simulation have really proven to be valuable to different initiatives and businesses.

From where did you get the seed money to kick off INFINITEWARE?

Loans haven’t been my cup of tea. I’m really glad that I’ve not borrowed money from any financial institution to nurture INFINITWARE. We’re self-funded and we’re doing well so far.

What are some of the biggest challenges you faced so far?

The challenges I faced definitely includes technical ones because, as we know, technology will not always play nice as many people think. Financial stability is a big hurdle at first, especially when the economy dictates many things that affect your services and production acceptance. Also, hiring really good people is a very tough challenge. I find it hard to find people with a decent attitude towards work, even though many of them are passionate.

Did you avail any of the services offered by Tamkeen?

I use Tamkeen mostly for marketing and PR, but I’m sure that they got a fantastic set of facilities for the average business joe and giant in Bahrain. Nonetheless, it’s all about execution. Execution matters most when coming up with good initiatives.

How was it being able to talk in huge technology conferences around the world?

The experience was super cool! I am, again, is very fortunate to have the chance to speak in big conferences around the world like the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Summit, Dubai World Game Expo (DWGE), and Mena Games (Lebanon). One thing that I can make very clear is that people appreciate when you’re expert at what you do. On the contrary here in Bahrain, most conferences only revolve around general subjects and little to no real value.

What’s your insight into the tech-based business landscape in Bahrain nowadays?

Generally, it’s fine and I like where this is going. A lot of tech companies are showing real promise. Nonetheless, I can’t stress out on how much regulation and due diligence should be enforced on subsidization. Otherwise, we’re heading in what I call ‘phantom economy’ where it might seem we’re doing progress, but in reality, it’s just a big PR show. 

Is Bahrain capable of becoming the tech-hub of the GCC?

I wholeheartedly believe that. Again, it’s all about the execution. I’m privileged enough to meet a lot of bright people here in Bahrain but most of the time, they are forced to make so much career sacrifices in order to fill their financial gap. Nonetheless, with proper due diligence and decent project managers, Bahrain can ultimately be the ‘go-to tech hub.’

Is Artificial Intelligence good or bad for humankind?

I think if executed really well, artificial intelligence can really bring the best of technology and decision making in the tech-space. I’m not saying that AI should replace humans, but there are things that are worthy of putting under the jurisdiction of non-biased, efficient computer agents.

Tell us about your best and worst days at work.

Good days include delivering on time and getting things running especially when they’re super difficult to implement. On the other hand, bad days for me includes dealing with toxic clients and having to go over a lot of hassle paperwork to onboard our products in the right hands.

What do you think of print magazine in today’s digital age?

Clearly, print magazine has its strengths and advantages in various aspects like leveling a specific niche. However, in today’s digital age, I don’t think print is still king. I think it’s more of an important player within a digitalized kingdom.    

Do you consider yourself as successful in your craft?

I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished and what I give back to society. I also got a clean track record with my clients and my AI products bring value to people. So, yes – I love to label myself as successful in what I am doing.

What is your favorite book?

This is quite difficult to answer but for the sake of fun, I’d say the book entitled ‘Life 3.0’ by Max Tegmark, which tackles how artificial intelligence is a match to human beings by now.

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