• KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00223 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09140 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%
  • KGS/USD = 0.01118 0%
  • KZT/USD = 0.00223 0%
  • TJS/USD = 0.09140 0.11%
  • UZS/USD = 0.00008 0%

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Artificial Intelligence in Central Asia: Applications and Regulation

The debate on the need for worldwide regulation of artificial intelligence (AI) is gaining momentum, given that over the past year AI has become a key tool for millions of people. With a growing number of organizations applying AI in various fields, including medicine, politics and judicial decisions, the urgent question is how to integrate AI into legislation. In Central Asia, in 2020 the National Bank of Kyrgyzstan authorized remote identification of individuals at banks using AI, machine learning and other predictive algorithms to process customer biometric data. Bishkek also introduced a facial recognition system based on artificial intelligence which allows data about wanted persons to be entered, and cameras to automatically identify them and transmit information to law enforcement. Artificial intelligence has also found its application in the political process. In 2020, the Mekenim Kyrgyzstan Party used a digital bot farm during the elections which generated approximately 150 profiles a day, automatically wrote comments and then self-liquidated. In Tajikistan, where the use of AI is not widespread, MegaFon stands out for its introduction of the Dono chatbot in 2019. This artificial interlocutor interacts with around 14,000 subscribers per day, freeing humans from routine tasks and allowing them to deal with more complex issues. In Uzbekistan, meanwhile, the government is taking active measures to stimulate the development of AI technologies. A presidential decree has established comprehensive steps towards the digitization of the economy and the social sphere. Digitization of government data in various sectors, such as justice, communications, finance, education and healthcare are becoming an integral part of the development strategy. The application of AI technologies, starting with image recognition and navigation systems, has already become a tangible part of task-solving in large enterprises, and the country is actively working to create an enabling environment to further expand the use of AI. In Kazakhstan, AI is being actively introduced in the judicial system, and over the past two years AI systems have been used to analyze court cases and predict their outcomes. The authorities believe that this approach helps minimize errors and improves the quality of justice. In the field of healthcare, since 2022 Kazakhstan has been successfully operating the PneumoNet program based on artificial intelligence. This program makes it possible to detect 17 of the most pathogenic lung diseases, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, and cancer. Currently, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan do not have specific laws regulating the creation and use of AI. Despite this, the Strategy for the Development of Artificial Intelligence in the Republic of Tajikistan until 2040 notes that during the implementation of the first and second stages of said strategy, legal, institutional and infrastructural frameworks will be developed, and the necessary specialists will be trained. Unlike its neighbors, Uzbekistan adopted a presidential decree "On measures to create conditions for the accelerated introduction of artificial intelligence technologies" as early as 2021. This document has become the legal foundation for the further development of AI in the country, defining its main directions. The resolution emphasizes the need to develop...

Problems and Prospects for Development: Raushan Yeschanova on Art in Kazakhstan

It is said that art can open doors to the depths of the human soul, transport one to other worlds and allow one to see and experience things from a new perspective. The history of Almaty is rich in culture and creativity, and today, Almaty-based art historian Raushan Yeschanova shares her thoughts on contemporary art in Kazakhstan, the problems of its development, and the role that will be played by the new Museum of Contemporary Art, which is scheduled to open this year.   TCA: Tell us how you came to study art? Traveling has always made me think about how mankind was able to create such masterpieces and what moved them. And it's not just about the Renaissance, Art Nouveau and or contemporary art; it’s also about ancient Egyptian art and artifacts from lost civilizations. In addition, I worked as an interior designer, and this required a good knowledge of interior styles. After all, art is not only paintings and sculptures, but also architecture, and I always wanted to immerse myself in it.   TCA: How do you assess the influence of the national culture of Kazakhstan on the development of contemporary art in the country? If we talk about the present time, at the moment our country is experiencing, I would say, "a period of revival in art". Since the formation of the fine arts school in Kazakhstan occurred during the accession of Kazakhstan to Russia, our art developed under the influence of Russian painting, which in turn looked to Western European art. After all, before the period of annexation there was only decorative applied art, and to engage in painting was forbidden due to religious traditions. After a century of development, once ideological principles became less strict, artists have returned to their "nomadic" past in which they find more and more sacred knowledge about life   TCA: What themes and motifs from history and culture most often inspire contemporary artists? They are inspired by rock art, symbols, mythological subjects… Kazakhstan is first of all a steppe, it is a yurt - and this universe is a source of inspiration for many. Artists use different styles, for example, combining ancient techniques with painting or, for example, placing the meaning of human existence into the national female headdress, the "saukele".   TCA: What problems do contemporary artists face in Kazakhstan? The main problem facing contemporary artists is the underdeveloped art market within the country. Many established artists live and work outside of Kazakhstan. As for young artists, it is the lack of quality institutions aimed at the realization of their creativity. There is no opportunity to participate in exhibitions, and the basis for promotion is social networks. Despite the presence of galleries in the cities, not all artists have the opportunity to display their works, as the issue of selling work is often controversial. Also, many talented artists have second jobs where their labor is better paid; for example, in the field of interior design, wall painting or creating...

Foreign Companies Operating in Kazakhstan Double in Five Years

The number of foreign and joint venture (JV) companies doing business in Kazakhstan reached 52,000 as of January 2024, a number that has more than doubled in five years from 24,700 in 2019, according to a report by Energyprom analysts. At the beginning of this year, 43,400 companies were registered in Kazakhstan defined as legal entities or branches with a foreign form of ownership. Additionally, there were 8,700 JVs. In terms of types of activity, most foreign companies operate in the fields of trade and services, and are most often small businesses. That diverges from Kazakhstan's priorities for the economy to attract and maintain large organizations in industry, construction, and IT. In total, more than 11,000 going concerns, both foreign and JVs, are working in these sectors. At the end of last year in the Karaganda Region, workers completed the construction of Kazakhstan's first lime production plant, which a Belgian company invested in to build. Furthermore, foreign investment totaling $482 million is behind the construction of a copper smelting plant in East Kazakhstan with a capacity of 25 million tons of products per year. In Aktobe, thanks to investment from Italy, a plant will produce thermal insulation materials. Agreements on all of these projects have already been signed. According to the Bureau of National Statistics of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Russia holds the largest share among JVs and foreign enterprises, which stands to reason given that this northern neighbor is Kazakhstan's key partner in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). In January of this year, 23,400 active Russian and Kazakh-Russian companies were registered in the republic. Following Russia's attack on Ukraine in February 2022, there was a sharp influx of those wishing to move their business from Russia to Kazakhstan. Rounding out the top five countries that are actively opening businesses in Kazakhstan are Turkey, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and China. Chinese business leaders have registered not just trading companies, but enterprises in manufacturing and mining industries. About 450 Chinese or Kazakh-Chinese companies in the heavy industries sector are currently operating. Among them is an East Kazakhstan-located producer of fuel assemblies for nuclear power plants in China. In terms of regions, the East Kazakhstan and Atyrau regions - as well as the metropolises of Almaty and Astana - attract the most foreign investment. For example, foreign ventures invested $6 billion in Almaty in 2023, whilst the oil refining sector in the Atyrau Region received $5.5 billion.

Kazakhstan Continues Countdown Ahead of Move to Single Unified Timezone

In less than two weeks, the stroke of midnight will unify all of Kazakhstan in a single timezone. On the night of February 29th-March 1st, residents of twelve regions - as well as the cities of Astana, Almaty and Shymkent - will have to move their clocks back an hour unifying the country in a single timezone (UTC+5). But not all citizens are happy about it, with some arguing it will impact their health. Residents of the East Kazakhstan region are especially fierce in defending their perceived rights. Earlier this year, a lawyer from Ust-Kamenogorsk filed a grievance against then-Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov demanding compensation for damages due to the time change. For that reason, scientists were dispatched to the region to explain the benefits of the timezone change to local residents. Among the advantages they noted were the elimination of time barriers between residents of different regions of Kazakhstan, more favorable conditions for doing business, streamlining the work of government agencies and emergency services, and improved coordination of transport and communication. Professor Sultan Tuleukhanov, head of the Department of Biophysics and Biomedicine of the Kazakh State University, agrees with the residents of East Kazakhstan. "There is such a concept as desynchronises, a type of inconsistency. In particular, it's a change to the chrono-structural parameters of biological rhythms of the human organism," he noted. Desynchronosis causes irritability and fatigue while also reducing the efficiency of the body. However, according to other specialists, residents of most regions will experience this only in the short term. There is one more concern, however. In some cities, it will get dark earlier after the time change, meaning people will have to work under artificial lights and turn on electricity earlier, meaning expenditure on electricity will increase. Yeraly Shinasilov, the director of the national dispatching center of the system operator, KEGOK (Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company), said that the change of time zones will only affect the finances of residents slightly. "Our consumption grows about 2% every year. Due to the fact that our peak demand will move to an hour earlier, it will all dissolve into the natural growth of consumption during the year," he stated. Only time will tell how effective the single time zone will be for Kazakhstan.

Bektenov Named as New Prime Minister of Kazakhstan

Olzhas Bektenov has been named as the new Prime Minister (PM) of Kazakhstan. His candidacy was presented to the President of Kazakhstan by the chairman of the ruling party, Amanat, Yerlan Koshanov. In accordance with the current legislation, President Kasym-Jomart Tokayev discussed Bektenov's candidacy with the heads of parties in the Mazhilis (lower house of Parliament). These were Yelnur Beisenbaev (Amanat), Magerram Magerramov (People's Party of Kazakhstan), Azat Peruashev (Ak Zhol), Askhat Rakhimzhanov (National Social Democratic Party), Serik Egizbaev (Auyl), and Aidarbek Hodzhanazarov (Respublica). Bektenov's candidacy was approved by Ak Zhol, Auyl and Respublica, whilst the People's Party of Kazakhstan and the Nationwide Social Democratic Party (OSDP) abstained from agreeing to Bektenov's candidacy as the head of the Cabinet of Ministers. Since April 2023, Bektenov has served as head of the Presidential Administration. Previously, he worked as chair of the Anti-corruption Agency, head of the Department of Public Procurement, and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau for the city of Astana. Political analysts noted  that Bektenov has the qualities to become an effective leader, especially when Kazakhstan is de-monopolizing the economy. "Bektenov has experience in the regions - in the akimats of Astana and Akmola Region," stated political scientist Gaziz Abishev on his widely-quoted Telegram channel. "His main thing is his work in the anti-corruption service, where he carried out serious work to identify and fight corruption schemes. Last year, President Tokayev appointed him head of his Administration. Bektenov has resolutely embarked on management reform, streamlining processes and significantly reducing bureaucracy. At the same time, he actively coordinated the process of returning illegally acquired assets. "It seems that Tokayev looked at him for a long time and had the opportunity to make sure of his professional and personal qualities," Abishev continued. "Now, the economy needs a decisive manager capable of actively reconfiguring processes, while not being constrained by excessive fears and being focused on concrete results. Bektenov will benefit from his experience in the Anti-Corruption Service, and [undertake] a merciless anti-corruption clean-up." For the first hundred days as head of the Cabinet of Ministers, Bektenov will be granted wide-ranging powers to achieve results. Deputies also expressed their opinions today on who should be removed from their posts. Additionally, the head of state made by decree a number of other personnel changes. Murat Nurtleu was reappointed to the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs, and was also named as a Deputy Prime Minister. Defense Minister, Ruslan Zhaksylykov, and Interior Minister, Yerzhan Sadenov, meanwhile, were both reappointed to their respective offices.

Understanding the Changes in the Kazakhstan Government

On February 5th, President Tokayev dismissed the country's government by signing a decree on its’ resignation. The move was expected following weeks of discontent expressed by the president. On an aggregate level, the country has had a successful 2023. Significant reforms were passed and Kazakhstan made substantial diplomatic gains. Economic growth was near 5%, and $13.3 billion in foreign investment was secured in the first six months of 2023. This was achieved despite supply chain disruptions brought on by the Russia-Ukraine war. However, Smailov’s and his cabinet have failed to reel in inflation and attract additional investments to the country. The Ministry of Finance of Kazakhstan, did not succeed in preparing a new Tax Code of Kazakhstan. The Minister of Emergency Situations is also under fire for its dysfunctional earthquake early warning systems which became known during a recent quake that scared Almaty residents. While certain ministers are anticipated to retain their positions, others are expected to be replaced. The Presidential Administration, along with Tokayev, have consistently shown their willingness to make bold decisions when required.

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