Here’s your weekly Middle East AI News!
It’s official! The Middle East and Africa region will see the world’s fastest spending growth in AI this year! Research firm IDC expects expenditure on AI to surge at a compound annual rate of 29.7% over the 2022–2026 period to $6.4 billion in 2026, driven by the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s spending.
In other news, MBZUAI discloses that it was part of the Vicuna project to create a less power-hungry LLM; Saudi Arabia ranks a global second in societal awareness about AI; Arabic language media site Kuwait News is experimenting with a new virtual news presenter; and a new computer vision conference has been announced to take place in Dubai next month.
Scroll down for these stories and more!
Lastly, if you haven’t already seen, do watch MBZUAI president professor Eric Xing’s CNN interview on whether AI development should be paused. As usual, Xing provides impeccable logic and expert insight!
Thanks for reading!
KSA, UAE to accelerate MEA’s AI spending
#UAE #Saudi #spending - The Middle East and Africa region, led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will experience the world’s fastest AI spending growth, reaching $3 billion in 2023, according to the latest forecast from IDC. The region's AI spending is predicted to surge at a compound annual rate of 29.7% over the 2022-2026 period, totaling $6.4 billion in 2026. (Khaleej Times)
Vicuna: eco-friendly ChatGPT rival released
#Global #AI - Researchers from Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University, and UC San Diego have announced Vicuna, an open-source chatbot with a lower cost and carbon footprint compared to ChatGPT. (MBZUAI)
Saudi Arabia ranks 2nd in global AI awareness study
#Saudi #AI - Saudi Arabia ranks second worldwide in societal awareness of AI, according to the 2023 Artificial Intelligence Index Report by Stanford University. The study reveals a high level of confidence among Saudi citizens when interacting with AI products and services. (Arab News)
Kuwait News outlet unveils AI presenter Fedha
#Kuwait #avatars - Kuwait News, an affiliate of the Kuwait Times, has introduced "Fedha," a virtual news presenter created using artificial intelligence. Fedha made her debut on Twitter and may eventually read online news bulletins. (BBC)
SDAIA trains 46,000 Saudis in AI through 2023
#Saudi #training - Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) has trained over 46,000 Saudis in data and AI throughout 2023 according to the authority, aiming to create job opportunities and support the goals of Saudi Vision 2030. The SDAIA Academy cooperates with leading local and global organisations to build national competencies in data and AI. (SPA)
UAE graduates 400 AI experts
#UAE #AI - Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, disclosed that the UAE has facilitated the graduation of 400 AI experts in collaboration with leading global universities. (Gulf News)
QU-CENG, Boeing launch robotics contest
#Qatar #robotics - Qatar University College of Engineering (QU-CENG) and Boeing have partnered to launch a new robotics competition aimed at promoting innovation among university students. (Zawya)
Dubai to host 'Machines Can See' summit
#UAE #AI - Dubai's Museum of Future will host the 'Machines Can See' Summit on May 2nd, organized by Dubai-based company Polynome. The event aims to explore the future of computer vision and machine learning, with both in-person and online attendance options. (WAM)
Amended Saudi PDPL in Effect from Sep. 2023
#Saudi #dataprotection - The amended Saudi Personal Data Protection Law (PDPL) will come into force on September 14, 2023. The update version of the PDPL, which was approved by the Council of Ministers last month, includes 27 amendments, aligning the law more closely with international standards. (Saudi Gazette)
85% of Bahrain's data moved to AWS
#Bahrain #cloud - In 2022, 85% of Bahrain's government data was transferred to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform, with the Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) completing the update of backup systems (Zawya)
Hotpack global to launch $266m food packaging project in KSA
#UAE #Saudi #packaging - UAE-based Hotpack Global plans to establish a $266 million specialized food packaging project in Saudi Arabia, which will produce environmentally friendly products over seven years. The 2.4 million sq.ft manufacturing plant will feature advanced machinery and Industry 4.0 technologies, including AI and IoT. (Packing MEA)
CENTCOM to use AI against Iran's drones
#Saudi #AI - CENTCOM, the U.S. Central Command, plans to integrate AI into its command-and-control nodes to help counter Iranian drones. US and Royal Saudi air defense units have already conducted live-fire drills for this purpose at the Al-Khurais electronic warfare range in Saudi Arabia. (Al-Monitor)
Iran Tests New Suicide Drone Meraj 532
#Iran #UAVs - Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps claims to have developed a new suicide drone, the Meraj 532, with a one-way range of 450km. The drone can reportedly fly up to 12,000 feet for 3 hours and can carry a 50kg warhead. (Iran International)
Turkish Aselsan exports anti-drone system IHTAR
#Turkey #antidrone - Turkish defense company Aselsan has begun exporting its anti-drone system IHTAR, designed to protect critical infrastructure from UAV threats. Export contracts have been signed with Northern Cyprus, Kyrgyzstan, Niger, and Angola. (Anadolu Agency)
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