Artificial Intelligence

Episode 7
It seems each day there are new developments and technologies in the field of Artificial Intelligence, but how can young entrepreneurs and investors keep up with this rapid rate of innovation? In this episode we host Dr. Najwa Al-Ghamdi, an expert in the field of Artificial Intelligence. She shares more about AI and how Saudi Arabia has been developing the infrastructure to grow this field in line with Vision 2030. She also discusses job opportunities for youth in AI, the skills and qualities needed for these jobs and how to keep pace with the industry’s acceleration and growth.

Humanity now stands at the beginning of a new era, in which technology dominates and prevails in all sectors, and perhaps the most prominent thing that technology has reached now is what has become known as “artificial intelligence”.

What is Artificial Intelligence?

AI refers to building systems and devices with intelligence that simulates human intelligence in performing certain tasks, so that these systems or devices can develop themselves according to the information they obtain, in what is known as “machine learning”.

AI & Vision 2030

Artificial intelligence is a fundamental pillar within 2030 Vision, through which the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia seeks to transform its economy into a sustainable knowledge-based economy. 

Dr.Najwa Al-Ghamdi an expert in the field of artificial intelligence. She has been key to the Kingdom’s adoption of several strategies to achieve this, including the launch of a national plan to encourage research and development, where approximately 2.5% of the domestic product is invested in research and development and innovation in competitive fields, including artificial intelligence. She affirmed that if things go as planned, “the Kingdom is expected to be a major industrial leader in providing AI products, information systems and databases, not only for local consumption, but also for export around the world.”

The Challenge with AI

In order to gain the most value from artificial intelligence, it is first important to understand the challenges of this field, most notably the speed of development, as new technologies appear every day. 

For this reason, Dr. Najwa emphasized the need for leaders in AI companies to dedicate a research and development unit within the company to keep up with the pace at which AI advances, and conduct research on what the future has in store for AI. 

On the other hand, Dr. Najwa pointed out that entrepreneurs should not be concerned about the rapid rate at which AI develops. This is because all technologies  go through a stage of testing and experimentation before they are deployed into practice.  

Will AI take away jobs?

Undoubtedly, the development in the field of artificial intelligence is directly impacts the Saudi labor market, but will AI replace jobs that people once did? 

Dr. Najwa does not necessarily believe so. She noted that while AI will replace some jobs that humans can do, it will also create up new opportunities, and other jobs in many areas, such as cybersecurity, and data. “After adopting the Vision 2030 AI Strategy, many jobs emerged centered around data and we are seeing more and more openings for roles such as data analyst, machine learning engineer, data protection specialist among others.”

How can I work in the AI field?  

Her first piece of advice was for youth to be open to on the job training. Dr. Najwa wanted youth to be aware that certain AI skills that can only be acquired through training and experience. 

“Don’t be satisfied with what you learn in university alone,” said Dr. Najwa. She encouraged those interested in working in AI to be proactive by starting projects, looking for additional training opportunities, in addition to focusing on their academics and studies. 

Youth who want to work in AI should…

Saudi youth interested in AI should be avid learners, according to Dr. Najwa. They should keep up to date with developments in the field and be relentless in their pursuit for knowledge and information about the latest advancements in AI. 

She also shared that those who want to work in AI should have an appetite for learning and always think outside the box. Those who are passionate and  curious should ask the right questions and tirelessly search for answers.

Anan features Saudi experts to answer youth’s questions from various fields and industries of interest. Each episode will provide advice and experience-sharing to help you shape your future.

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