Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a revolutionary force sweeping the world. In Saudi Arabia, it already has a firmly established presence.
The Kingdom has embraced AI and has established an agency dedicated explicitly to harnessing the power of this cutting-edge technology and setting the boundaries for it.
The Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) is at the centre of the Kingdom’s move to an exciting new frontier. It is the national reference point for everything to do with AI – from research and innovation to operation and regulation.
It is a busy field, covering a new form of fast-moving innovation that has already reached a global scale. Al Majalla spoke to one of the country’s leading figures in the area – Dr Majid bin Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri, the supervisor of the National Centre for Artificial Intelligence at the SDAIA – about how the SDAIA is handling the range of issues it faces.
The discussion ranged from ethics, checks and balances and the human side of the technology to what it means for national infrastructure and economic diversification and growth.
Below are excerpts from the interview:
Artificial Intelligence is developing at a rapid pace. What is your vision for this new technology and how can Saudi citizens benefit from it now and in the future?
Artificial intelligence has become part of everyday life. It’s not a rigid technology; rather it’s characterised by flexibility and rapid development. It depends on data processing and analysis using advanced modern computing and machine-learning technologies that can be applied to many vital fields of our contemporary lives and evolve with time.
It’s important to employ these technologies in developing the world’s countries for the benefit of humanity.
At the SDAIA, we work on the digital empowerment of government and private sectors and the optimisation of data and artificial intelligence technologies to improve services provided to the Kingdom’s citizens and residents.
The SDAIA has provided many technical initiatives so far. The role of small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs has been bolstered, within an organised government framework in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
The Kingdom has provided the world with the best roadmap for applying artificial intelligence technologies, through the city of the future The Line – a development project launched by Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the crown prince and prime minister. It will use geospatial data to halt desertification, boost agriculture, and preserve the environment.
We have ambitions to establish smart cities that are the future of the world, in light of the tremendous social transformations we’re experiencing.
We want to develop meaningful and practical applications of artificial intelligence for various government agencies – directly or through partnerships and business incubators – to develop national personnel and support artificial intelligence education.