Saudi smartness: AI hackers gather in the Kingdom

Quiz time: list your top 10 Artificial Intelligence (AI) world hubs?

Possible answers: Silicon Valley (obviously), Bangalore & Bengaluru (same place), Shanghai and Shenzen (both big footprints for Huawei), other US tech hubs (think Austin, Raleigh-Durham area and Boston) and maybe London UK if the Brexit-voting masses haven’t impacted the UK’s ability to grow its tech industry long term.

Oh… and don’t forget Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, right?

Art-smart AI

Well, we did to start with, but the world’s first AI Art hackathon – the AI Artathon – was staged this month in the Saudi capital with 300 experts in data science and AI, graphic designers and artists competing to create visual arts using artificial intelligence.

The AI Artathon received over 2,000 applications, from over 50 countries worldwide.

Guidance at the event itself was provided by AI art experts including Gene Kogan, an artist and programmer with an interest in autonomous systems, collective intelligence, generative art and computer science; Luba Elliott, a curator, artist and researcher, specialising in artificial intelligence in the creative industries; and Celia Bugniot, a multidisciplinary project manager, designer and artist.

The AI Artathon is an initiative of the Global AI Summit, organised by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, to show the positive impact and creativity that can be empowered by artificial intelligence.

Global AI Summit

His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, president of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority and chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Global AI Summit, said that the AI Artathon was intended to highlight the creative potential of AI and its positive benefits to humanity, a key theme of the country’s forthcoming Global AI Summit, which runs in March 2020.

The AI Summit will highlight Saudi Arabia’s lofty ambitions to become a leader in AI technologies. The event hopes to focus discussion on AI, its importance, applications and impact on societies, economies and politics.

“Artificial intelligence is playing a central role in the digital transformation of all sectors of human activity, from business and enterprise, to key national industries, government, healthcare, and many more areas beside. AI is bringing us new insight and new capabilities that is reshaping the world around us,” said H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi, president of Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA).

The Saudi Data and Artificial intelligence Authority was established by Royal decree in August 2019, to become the main government entity to facilitate and enable the adoption of AI in the Kingdom.

The whole initiative runs as part of the Kingdom’s work to achieve its Vision 2030 diversity and development goals… and, while many people will still disagree with KSA’s approach to many sensitive subjects and freedoms, there appears to have been some effort made to redress the stipulations of the past… so we’ll drink to that.

Apple juice & sparkling water please!

< class="wp-caption-text">H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Sharaf Alghamdi.

< class="wp-caption-text">Riyadh.

< class="wp-caption-text">Ready to code – and open up to female programming involvement at all levels we hope.

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