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Sri Lanka pledges 1 billion rupees for research between Buddha's teachings and artificial intelligence

Sri Lanka's pledges 1 billion rupees for research between Buddha's teachings and artificial intelligence citing that the "rule of law is paramount" for the development and use of artificial intelligence. 

Sri Lanka, which defaulted on its debt in 2022 has struggled with its economic recovery with Island-wide power outages still occurring over the last six months. Despite only 44% of the country having access to the Internet based on the latest World Bank Data, Sri Lanka aims to pursue an AI strategy which requires a "robust and legal regulatory framework". 

Wickremesinghe instructed officials to form a presidential task force to promote AI usage within the country, whilst earmarking 1 billion rupees for research on the relationship between Buddha's teachings and AI. A total of 1.5 billion rupees were allocated for the 2024 National budget for AI. 

Research was scheduled to begin this year but was postponed to next year due to the absence of required legislation for the regulation of  Artificial Intelligence. He emphasised that the subsequent steps will be taken once the new laws are adopted.

Wickremesinghe made this statement to mark the 100th anniversary of the Sri Lanka Buddhist Society Moratuwa, held today (11) at the Moratuwa Buddhist Society Hall.

Sri Lanka, which defaulted on its debt in 2022 has struggled with its economic recovery with Island-wide power outages still occurring over the last six months. Despite only 44% of the country having access to the Internet based on the latest World Bank Data, Sri Lanka aims to pursue an AI strategy which requires a "robust and legal regulatory framework". 

It notes in its white paper that it is "important for Sri Lanka to ensure that the rule of law is paramount, be it in the development and use of AI or more broadly". Despite the call to respect the "rule of law" Sri Lankan security forces continue to impose abduction and torture on Tamil civilians, following the publication of a report from the International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP) revealed. The report analyzed the statements of 123 Tamils (aggregately detained for a total of 139 times) who were unlawfully detained by Sri Lankan security forces between 2015 and 2022.

It further notes that regular assessments of the AI sector on economic growth and societal well-being will be needed. This year the Sri Lankan health Ministry rejected a study published in the British Medical Journal, The Lancet which finds that 410,000 girls in Sri Lanka are underweight and that there has been no detectable change in statistics since 1990. The UNDP in Sri Lanka also released its Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) in Sri Lanka which shows a large percentage of individuals in North-East live below the poverty line and have several vulnerabilities, with some of the districts being the worst affected on the whole island. Overall, the Northern and Eastern Provinces had the highest incidence of multidimensional vulnerability by province, according to data gathered by the UNDP. The North-east continues to remain one of the most militarised regions on the planet, with development across the region being restricted due to the overbearing reach of military institutions within civic affairs. 

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