IT & Telecommunications

Global Artificial Intelligence summit kicks off in Riyadh

The 2nd Global AI Summit kicked off today (September 13) in Riyadh drawing 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 being held under the patronage of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince and Chairman of Board of Directors of the Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA) at the headquarters of the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center in Riyadh.
Prince Mohammed's patronage to the 2nd version of the summit shows his keenness to benefit from this vital sector to realize the development of KSA and to make it a pioneering global model in building the knowledge economies to serve current and future generations and in realization of the Saudi Vision 2030, said the organisers.
The summit commenced with a live presentation dubbed “Humans can have a better future with the use of AI,” which included several scenes that tell the story of humans with AI, including the ethics of AI, the story of machine learning, how humans teach machines that become smart through understanding their instructions, in addition to how to become independent and operate without the need of human incomes until humans can accord with the machine again towards realizing harmony in the future.
In his speech, Minister of Communications and Information Technology Engineer Abdullah bin Amer Al Swaha shed light on the support and empowerment of HRH the Crown Prince to all tools that can help seize future opportunities through focusing on AI and its role in serving humanity and drawing the future of KSA through building prosperous digital communities, smart cities and digital economies.
"Thanks to the support from the Crown Prince, entrepreneurs and companies in KSA have adopted AI solutions that serve vital fields in the health, energy and digital economy sectors, going over some entrepreneur 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," he stated.
Al Swaha also stressed the importance of The Line project, saying: "It is a gift from HRH Prince Mohammed 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."
SDAIA President Dr Abdullah bin Sharaf Al Ghamdi, referring to the first edition of the summit that was held between the virtual and real worlds in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said: "The time between then and now the summit was not just a transition from one version to another, especially that this period was a defining moment in the history of mankind that went through a lot of challenges and lessons over the past two years."
Al Ghamdi pointed out that technology has developed, mainly those related to AI, in a remarkable way and has become an integral part of every aspect of our lives, noting that the world, in previous centuries, spent 200 years to discover the first vaccine of smallpox before the disease is controlled, while this period was reduced to a few months since the spread of the first variant of the COVID-19 thanks to technologies of AI.
He pointed out that this was not the only change, especially that AI and virtual assistance in millions of houses, smart phones and autonomous vehicles are no longer dreams anymore, where AI and robots have conducted millions of surgeries in the present.
"We are about to reach the inherent capabilities of AI, where early signs are very promising, 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, where AI has proven its ability to reduce carbon emission by 40% and that it can predict some cancer types in a better way than humans," stated Al Ghamdi.
The SDAIA president said that the most important subjects include: exploring the relation between humans and machines: where to stop? Where shall machines start? He noted that three years ago we started seeking answers to these questions through launching the AI Artathon that represented a global experience that gathered hundreds of AI experts and artists to explore the closest aspects to mankind: creativity.
Al Ghamdi also warned against the digital gap between countries in light of the technological development. "The gap between the two genders, according to a recent study, is huge, where only 12% of AI researchers are women, which cannot be true! We have to do something about this in the summit," he noted.
"Such divisions always take us back to the main and most urgent question: What is considered a responsible AI? If AI today was developed in certain geographical locations and was controlled by a certain race and targeted certain markets, how can we trust it? So, we welcome the recent Unesco agreement that included recommendations regarding AI ethics and was endorsed by 193 countries, and we believe that all nations bear the responsibility of implanting these recommendations to enhance the credibility of AI. You will hear some good news about this in our summit," he added.
Addressing the gathering, Aramco CEO and President Engineer Amin Al Nasser said the company is proud of being one of the main sponsors of the summit, during which it announced a new strategic project dubbed “Global AI Corridor”.
He said that this ambitious project is in its first steps and its design includes several aspects to play four main roles.
"Establishing an excellence center to develop AI solutions for Saudi Aramco and interested institutions in the Kingdom of 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.
The opening ceremony and the main session were attended by several heads of government authorities, a slew of CEOs of major technological companies in the world, AI specialists from local and international research centers, and interested people in ICT.
The summit will also include several initiatives and signing ceremonies of agreements and memorandums of understanding for Saudi and international companies that are envisioned to contribute to developing the use and influence of AI over the few coming years to serve humanity, said the organisers.
Neom is one of the most important projects within the Saudi Vision 2030 that invest in AI to help serve humanity and utilize it in building cognitive smart cities through offering a unique global model that realizes sustainability and perfect living in harmony with the nature depending on advanced digital technologies, it added.-TradeArabia News Service