PARIS — In a landmark decision, UNESCO’s General Conference, during its 42nd session, has granted the International Center for AI Research and Ethics (ICAIRE) in Riyadh the coveted status of a Category 2 Center. This approval underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to advancing artificial intelligence on both domestic and global fronts.
Led by Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Alghamdi, President of the Saudi Data and AI Authority (SDAIA), the event witnessed the participation of key figures from the Kingdom’s permanent mission to UNESCO and the National Committee for Education, Culture, and Science.
This achievement aligns with Saudi Arabia’s unwavering support for UNESCO’s mission to enhance the positive impact of AI in people’s lives. It also signifies the Kingdom’s dedication to its international obligations and the promotion of AI for the benefit of nations, particularly in the developing world. ICAIRE’s focus extends to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030, with a particular emphasis on the Arab countries in the Middle East.
Notably, Saudi Arabia stands among the pioneers in adopting UNESCO’s AI ethics recommendations, an initiative that saw the participation of 193 states in November 2021. The establishment of the “International Center for AI Research and Ethics” was officially approved by the Cabinet on July 25, 2023. This center, headquartered in Riyadh, attains legal personality, as well as financial and administrative independence, marking a significant milestone in the Kingdom’s pursuit of leadership in the AI domain.
The center’s multifaceted activities are concentrated in four key domains: facilitating AI research and development, fostering awareness on AI ethics, providing policy recommendations and support for AI capabilities development, and actively contributing to international endeavors that leverage AI for the greater good of humanity. This move solidifies Saudi Arabia’s role as a frontrunner in AI, poised to enhance international and regional cooperation in the realms of AI policies, ethics, and research.
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