As the world faces unprecedented challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year offers the perfect opportunity to test the potential of artificial intelligence, according to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In a speech on Wednesday on the opening day of the two-day Global AI Summit hosted by Riyadh — which was delivered on his behalf by Abdullah Al-Ghamdi, president of Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence — the crown prince also called for the nations of the world to work together to develop the capabilities of AI so that its benefits are available to all.
He began by highlighting the Kingdom's desire to play a prominent part in the global development of AI to "unleash its potential for the good of all humanity."
He said: "2020, undoubtedly, has been an extraordinary year to test the potential of AI, as we witness the formation of a new global normal that is redefining our ways of life, working and learning.
"This requires all of us to think and work hard to take advantage of artificial intelligence and unleash its full potential to advance our societies and economies."
In recognition of the importance of the technology, the crown prince announced the launch of a national strategy for data and AI, with the aim of positioning Saudi Arabia at the forefront of AI research and development.
"I hereby invite all dreamers, innovators, investors and thinkers to join us, here in the Kingdom, to achieve our ambitions together and to build a pioneering model; to unlock the value of data and AI in order to build knowledge-based economies and advance our present and future generations," he added.
Acknowledging the digital gap that exists between developed and developing countries, which has widened as a result of the coronavirus crisis, the crown prince said that the Kingdom is working to close this gap so that all nations can benefit from the potential of AI.
"I invite you all to work in a spirit of cooperation to shape the future of artificial intelligence in a way that serves all societies, prioritizes collaboration over competition, and focuses on reliable and responsible uses and applications of AI to serve humanity."