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  • Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts

Saudi Arabia commits to AI, industrial revolution in meet with Italian experts

An illustration of Neom, which will be built in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province. (Neom.com)
An illustration of Neom, which will be built in Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk province. (Neom.com)
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24 Jun 2021 03:06:27 GMT9
24 Jun 2021 03:06:27 GMT9
  • Saudi tech leaders tell roundtable meeting that they have big ambitions for AI industry
  • Upcoming megaprojects such as NEOM will provide testing ground for AI

Francesco Bongarra

ROME: Saudi Arabia has committed to become a global leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) during a roundtable discussion with Italian technology experts.

In the discussion on Tuesday, the Kingdom committed to becoming a dominant force in the field within the next eight years, in line with the Saudi Vision 2030 reform plans, and reaffirmed its interest in cooperating with Italy.

Robotics and AI were the main themes of the virtual roundtable, which was organized by the Saudi Center for International Strategic Partnerships, the Italian Embassy in Riyadh and the ICE Agenzia (The Italian Trade Commission), in collaboration with the Association Of Italian Manufacturers of Machine Tools, Robots, Automation Systems and Ancillary Products (UCIMU), the Italian Institute of Technology, and the Polytechnic Institute of Turin.

Saudi Arabia was represented by the Supervisor of the National Center for AI at the Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA), Majed Al-Tuwaijri; the CEO of the National Industrial Development & Logistic Program, Suliman Al-Mazroua; the advisor to the Deputy Ministry of Industry and Mining Resources and head of the Industry 4.0 program, Dr. Majed A. Al-Gwaiz.

The Scientific Director of the Italian Institute of Technology Prof. Giorgio Motta, the President of UCIMU-Sistemi Per Produrre Dr. Barbara Colombo, and the director of the Hub for AI at the Polytechnic Institute of Turin, Prof. Barbara Caputo, represented the Italian side.

Saudi speakers said that the Kingdom has a strong foundation for its AI ambitions, based on the country’s assets and its position as an investment powerhouse. They added that the Kingdom also boasts a young population and the desire for large-scale programs.

Upcoming Saudi megaprojects, such as NEOM and smart cities, will provide a testing ground for advanced AI.

The speakers recalled that the SDAIA and Saudi G20 Secretariat organized the Global AI Summit in 2020, which provided the world’s premier platform for dialogue to shape the future of AI.

Saudi Arabia used the occasion to reveal its National Strategy for Data and AI, which aims to attract $20 billion in foreign and local investments by 2030.

Saudi speakers stressed that in relation to Industry 4.0, Saudi Arabia intends to attract expertise and encourage partnerships and investments to achieve the digital transformation of the industrial sector.

The Saudi Embassy in Rome said in a statement that the Kingdom plans to support the industrial revolution by implementing projects through investments of $453 million and allocations of $2.5 billion for the construction of digital infrastructure in the industry, mining, logistics, healthcare and energy sectors.

The main objectives are to increase the number of facilities able to benefit from the Industry 4.0 incentives from 10 in 2021 to 43 in 2025 and the development of four specialized centers for advancing new technology.

The Kingdom will also spend $800 million to convert 100 factories, with support guaranteed by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund.

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