Global AI Summit wraps up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


The second edition of the Global AI Summit, which concluded on 15 September, reaffirmed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s recognition of, and investment in, the rising importance of artificial intelligence (AI).

The three-day AI Summit, hosted by the Saudi Data & Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) at the headquarters of the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Centre in Riyadh, attracted more than 15,000 participants and 200 speakers from over 90 countries around the world.

“We are witnessing the exponential growth of AI and its potential benefits for society today and tomorrow,” said Director of the National Information Centere Dr. Esam Alwagait in the closing remarks. “Together, we can build a pioneering model that unlocks the value of data and AI that will propel knowledge-based economies, solve challenges and provide a brighter future for generations.”

While the Summit showcased the potential of AI, it also spurred more immediate action. On opening day, member states of the Digital Cooperation Organisation finalised and signed the Riyadh AI Call for Action Declaration, outlining a long-term vision for harnessing AI to benefit people, communities, nations and the world as a whole.

Saudi Arabia also unveiled its AI Ethics Principles. Designed by SDAIA and based on global and domestic standards, the framework will serve as a practical guide for incorporating AI ethics throughout the AI system development life cycle. Saudi Arabia also announced it would join the World Bank’s Digital Development Partnership, which helps bring AI technologies to developing countries.

The AI Summit concluded by launching a new joint initiative between SDAIA and Google Cloud aimed at empowering women to occupy roles in AI and machine learning. The programme will provide free training to 25,000 women over the course of five years, with the goal of increasing the proportion of women working in the field.

In total, more than 40 partnerships and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed at the Summit. These included an MoU signed between Internet of Things Technologies Company, a joint venture between Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) and stc Group, and Honeywell to advance the fields of sustainable cities, logistics platforms and technologies that drive digitalisation in Saudi Arabia.

SDAIA signed a strategic agreement with IBM to drive adoption of artificial intelligence in the carbon capture and industrial domains across the Kingdom, while the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture signed an MoU signing of a memorandum of understanding with microchip giant Intel over artificial intelligence and Big Data analysis. These partnerships, together with the conclusion of the Summit, mark the Kingdom’s steady progress towards its Vision 2030 goal.

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