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In the Name of God بسم الله

Qom and AI

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Iran’s religious establishment has been looking at ways to harness the technology since Qom’s first AI conference was held in 2020. The head of Qom Seminary, the largest such institution in the Shia world, recently opened up to how AI could accelerate the Islamic studies of senior clergy and speed up their communication to the public. “The seminary must get involved in using modern, progressive technology and artificial intelligence,” Ayatollah Alireza Arafi said in July. “We have to enter into this field to promote Islamic civilisation.”

The city’s leading AI research centre, the Noor Computer Centre for Islamic Sciences Research, is affiliated with the seminary and has access to its centuries-old scrolls and other ancient data sources that could be fed into algorithms. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, has also urged clergy to pay more attention to the possibilities of AI, saying in June that he wanted the country to be “at least among the top-10 countries in the world in terms of artificial intelligence”. But he also said that while “the tools change . . . what doesn’t change are the goals” of the Islamic republic.


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