Artificial intelligence essential to achieving Vision 2030, says Saudi official

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  • Expert says one of the most important steps was to localize AI and incorporate the Arabic language into the technology
  • Race to develop AI was proving to be a competitive one with many players scrambling to get ahead

DUBAI: Majid Al-Shehry, Strategic Advisor at the Saudi Arabia Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA), has reinforced the Kingdom’s “ambitious plans” during an AI session at the GITEX Technology Week on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia has been undergoing huge economic change since it announced its Vision 2030 goals in April 2016, the main thrust of which was a plan to help diversify its economy and reduce its dependence on the hydrocarbon sector.

Al-Shehry said the Kingdom was eager to become a world leader in the area of technology and he said the majority of the Vision 2030 strategic initiatives were “directly or indirectly linked to AI.”

To achieve its mandate, Al-Shehry said one of the most important steps was to localize AI and incorporate the Arabic language into the technology.

SDAIA has recently launched a national strategy to meet its AI goals, including investing in local Saudi talent.

“We are ready to lead a knowledge-based economy. I hope that Riyadh will be a hub for AI,” SDAIA president Abdullah Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, said during the inaugural Saudi-led Global Artificial Intelligence Summit held last October.

Al-Shehry said the race to develop AI was proving to be a competitive one with many players scrambling to get ahead.

“Everyone is competing because it’s the key to the future. It’s very critical to everyone. There are very global competitors in the market – the US, China, and other countries who have been in the market of technology for a while,” he told Arab News.

The Saudi official highlighted how AI could impact crucial industries in the Kingdom, including the massive industrial ecosystem.

The GITEX Technology Week is taking place at the Dubai World Trade Centre from Dec. 6 to Dec. 10.

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