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Saudi Arabia Leads Regional AI through Laboratory, Global Development Corridor

Saudi Arabia Leads Regional AI through Laboratory, Global Development Corridor

Wednesday, 14 September, 2022 - 07:15
Saudi Arabia hosts the second edition of the Global AI Summit under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz (SPA)

Saudi Arabia hosted the second edition of the Global AI Summit under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, who also chairs the Board of Directors of the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence (SDAIA).

During the summit, the Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) announced a new sophisticated AI lab with SenseTime Group. Aramco revealed a new strategic project, the "Global AI Corridor," aimed at building and commercializing the artificial intelligence ecosystem in the Kingdom.

- Vital Sectors

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah al-Swaha said the Saudi government supports all tools that can help seize future opportunities by focusing on AI and its role in serving humanity and drawing the future of the Kingdom.

Swaha touched on the support and empowerment of the Crown Prince and its reflection on the community of entrepreneurs and companies in the Kingdom, adding that it resulted in the adoption of artificial intelligence solutions that serve vital fields in the health, energy, and digital economy sectors.

He recalled some entrepreneurial experiments of the Kingdom, mainly Aramco's adoption of AI solutions in digging and excavation that enabled the company to top energy companies in applying solutions that ensure environmental sustainability.

The Minister said the "The Line" project is a gift from the Crown Prince to humanity on "how to plan smart cities over the 150 coming years and how Saudi Arabia managed to adapt with AI solutions and data to build sustainable communities."

- Digital Gap

SDAIA President Abdullah al-Ghamdi explained that technology has significantly advanced, mainly in AI fields, and has become integral to all aspects of life.

He indicated that in previous centuries, it took nations 200 years to discover the first vaccine for smallpox before the disease was controlled, while this period was reduced to a few months since the spread of the first variant of COVID-19 thanks to technologies of AI.

Ghamdi stated: "We are about to reach the inherent capabilities of AI, where early signs are auspicious, where vertical farms that work today through AI tools can produce food with a production capacity of more than 400 folds of what conventional farms can produce."

AI has proven its ability to reduce carbon emissions by 40 percent and can predict some cancer types better than humans, stated Ghamdi.

Ghamdi warned against the digital gap between countries in light of technological development.

According to a recent study, he stated that the gap between the two genders is enormous, where only 12 percent of AI researchers are women.

The official welcomed the recent UNESCO agreement that included recommendations regarding AI ethics and was endorsed by 193 countries, adding that all nations bear the responsibility of implanting these recommendations to enhance the credibility of AI.

- Global Corridor

The president and CEO of Aramco, Amin Nasser, announced the "Aramco Global AI Corridor" to develop and commercialize complex AI solutions, train Saudi talent, support Saudi start-ups and, together with global partners, build a local AI ecosystem.

Nasser said that project is in its first steps, and its design includes several aspects to play four leading roles.

"Establishing an excellence center to develop AI solutions for Saudi Aramco and interested institutions in Saudi Arabia in this technology with immense aspects, enhancing efforts to develop the high-influence intellectual property system connected to AI, and marketing intellectual property products commercially," he added.

Nasser added that the project aims to train and develop young Saudi competencies in AI and support a new generation of emerging Saudi companies based on their activity in the sector.

He explained that the project is called "Global Corridor" because it helps transfer knowledge, exchange ideas, and present solutions.

- Serving Humanity

Director of the Industrial Initiative at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Jurgen Schmidhuber indicated that during three decades, the sector provided human services and shifted in several sectors, namely economic and medical.

He pointed out that industrial networks, AI development, smart cities, and the technology industry helped develop and improve life, especially in the medical field, and reduced the time and effort in diagnosing cases.

Schmidhuber added that artificial intelligence in the auto industry is now used on a larger scale, and self-driving cars are safer through the mechanism of determining lanes, speed, and congestion, noting that it will be applied in smart cities, such as NEOM and others, in line with Vision 2030.

The professor added that companies are not using AI in challenging games, such as chess, which require mental effort and high concentration.

- Bulk Computing

Furthermore, the Vice President of IBM Quantum, Scott Crowder, confirmed that quantum computing would lead the emerging technologies, despite their differences from traditional devices in terms of memory and space.

Crowder noted that one of the global challenges lies in delivering quantum computing to working hands to enable them to build their skills and use them to develop work tasks.

He indicated that optimizing how quantum computing is used will provide software for algorithm developers to write new AI algorithms.

For his part, Chair of Electrical and Computer Engineering at George Washington University Tarek El-Ghazawi Tariq Al-Ghazzawi indicated that today's engineering requires emerging technologies, as traditional methods consume more time and effort.

- Research and Development

The Saudi Company for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) announced at the conference its investment with SenseTime Group through a joint venture to establish SenseTime MEA, valued at $206.9 million.

The partnership will work to build a sophisticated AI lab, create highly skilled jobs for talented Saudis, and contribute to positioning Saudi Arabia as the region's leading AI-tech hub.

SCAI will work closely with SenseTime to develop solutions across diverse areas, including but not limited to the smart city, business intelligence, healthcare, and education domains.

It will also localize the company's cutting-edge computer vision and deep learning platform to enable the creation of intellectual properties, which will be of immense benefit to the Kingdom and the region.

The AI lab will serve as dedicated research and development center, allowing the next generation of data scientists to benefit from the transfer of technology and SenseTime's extensive expertise.

SCAI CEO Ayman al-Rashed said the agreement is an important strategic step to develop national capabilities and build a robust, innovation-driven AI ecosystem.

"We look forward to working closely to provide world-class AI solutions that will contribute to the success of the diverse smart city, business intelligence, healthcare, and education initiatives in the Kingdom and beyond," he indicated.

For his part, the Executive Chairman of the Board and CEO of SenseTime, Xu Li, indicated that this new joint venture would be a solid foundation for the company's ambitions to expand its footprint in the Kingdom, looking forward to a long-term alliance to enhance expertise in the field jointly.

The 2nd Global AI Summit kicked off Tuesday in Riyadh with the participation of more than 10,000 people and 200 speakers from 90 countries representing policymakers, specialists, and concerned figures with AI.

The three-day summit is held under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the headquarters of the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center in Riyadh.

It shows the Crown Prince's keenness to benefit from this vital sector to realize the development of Saudi Arabia into a pioneering global model in building the knowledge economies to serve current and future generations and in the realization of Vision 2030.

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