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Investing in Artificial Intelligence in Sri Lanka

By nuuuwan     Updated Feb 29, 2024

Exploring the potential of AI investment in Sri Lanka and the necessary foundational elements.

1. Cultivating a Rich Data Environment

The crux of AI success lies in the abundance and quality of data. AI systems learn to come up with answers by analyzing past data encompassing various questions and their correct responses. The richer the data, the smarter the AI becomes, offering more insightful solutions.

In Sri Lanka, a mere sliver of public data, less than 1%, is available in a digital format. To stimulate AI growth, the government can prioritize making public data widely accessible, laying the groundwork for innovation.

Once this data is available, it could light a fire under startups and existing businesses, inspiring a new wave of AI-driven products and services that could transform the market landscape.

2. Energizing AI with Sustainable Energy

AI's computational demands call for substantial energy. To ensure the viability of AI systems, Sri Lanka needs to invest in affordable and sustainable energy sources.

While the upfront costs of renewable energy, such as solar, may seem daunting, the long-term operational costs are projected to plummet, offering an economically sound energy solution.

Taking the leap into renewable energy might be a tough pill to swallow in the short term, but without this step, Sri Lanka risks falling behind in the AI race.

3. Fostering Pro-Competition Policies

The competitive edge AI can give to businesses is massive. However, in a market where a few large players dominate, often protected by political ties and regulations, there's little incentive to innovate.

By reshaping the regulatory landscape to favor competition, the government can break this cycle. This may lead to the dissolution of some businesses but will also pave the way for more dynamic, AI-driven entities to emerge.

If the current stagnation persists, Sri Lanka may find itself playing catch-up with foreign businesses that are far ahead in the AI game, potentially taking over domestic industries.

4. Revolutionizing AI Education

In the fast-evolving field of AI, knowledge becomes outdated almost as soon as it's learned. Traditional methods of education simply can't keep up.

Instead of focusing on rote learning, Sri Lanka must prioritize teaching students how to learn and adapt. This approach is critical not just for AI but for many other disciplines as well.

Steering the educational system toward continuous learning and innovation is crucial if Sri Lanka is to make meaningful strides in AI.

5. The Digitalization of Data

Investing in AI starts with solid groundwork, and that means having a reliable database. Before diving into the deep end of AI, it's essential for Sri Lanka to digitize and systematize the data that is legally accessible to its citizens.

Although there may be costs involved, they're within the government's reach, suggesting that investment in digital infrastructure is a pragmatic first step.

The main obstacle might not be financial but rather a matter of mindset. Embracing change and preparing to utilize this data will pave the way for the country's AI endeavors.


To harness the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Sri Lanka must commit to investing in data availability, energy and infrastructure, a business rationale, and human skills. By addressing these key areas, the nation can stimulate AI development and adoption, ensuring it keeps pace with global advancements and reaps the economic benefits.