Data science (DS) is concerned with the extraction of useful knowledge from large, complex data sets. Drawing on the fields of machine learning, data mining, databases, and visualization, it provides critical support to decision makers in many professions, allowing them to make decisions based on precise situation awareness. Applications include business intelligence, the detection of anomalies in patterns of behavior, and analysis of services in cloud computing.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is an even broader field about the automation or simulation of human intelligence. AI has 2 primary levels. Level 1 AI (sometimes called “narrow” AI) involves perception, statistical inference, and actuation, drawing on data science, sensors, and robotics, while level 2 AI is concerned with more complex reasoning and decision making in less constrained domains.We are about to enter a “golden age” of AI R&D in which level 1 and level 2 AI are integrated to revolutionize nearly every aspect of human endeavor


Digitisation is growing. By 2016, one-third of relevant companies in the ASEAN region and Sri Lanka, indicated that big data & AI technologies are gaining traction and becoming strategic priorities. However, the report highlights the fact that within Asia, TH, ID, and LK are falling behind regional leaders such as Singapore and Malaysia, while the region as a whole is far behind China

Thailand is seen as being in a 20-year “middle-income trap,” while Malaysia, Vietnam, and Myanmar are catching up or have already surpassed her in productivity. “Thailand 4.0” initiatives are attempting to transform the economy from a commodities and export based economy into an innovation and knowledge based economy. Some of the key policies are increased investment in education, ICT development, and funding for innovative businesses. The success of these initiatives will no doubt critically depend on the readiness of the labor force for ICT in general and data-driven technologies in particular. However, unless national capacity in skilled DS&AI personnel increases dramatically in the coming decades, these initiatives may be all for nought.

Indonesia’s government is increasingly interested in DS, and a separate MGI report finds that by embracing digitalization, ID would realize a 10% growth in GDP by 2025.

Sri Lanka is a relatively small country compared to others in Asia and has only in 2009 emerged from a devastating civil war. Progress of digitization and Internet penetration up to now have been slower than in TH and ID, but infrastructure is good and the educational system remains one of the strongest in the region. This means that LK is well positioned to capture opportunities through adoption of DS and AI technology, if sufficient human resources are prepared.

These trends all indicate that the development of appropriate educational programs to build skills in data science and AI that bring European experts together with Asian experts will contribute to regional success in the race to transform national economies from commodity-based to knowledge-based economies.


AIT has significant experience in MSc programs in ICT related areas and research expertise in DS and AIThis project will build on AIT’s past experience with collaborative projects for the region in a new area, that of DS&AI.