Exclusive: In a first, Saudi Arabia to participate in Cannes Film Festival

Updated 08 April 2018

Exclusive: In a first, Saudi Arabia to participate in Cannes Film Festival

  • Saudi Arabia will officially take part in the 71st Cannes Film Festival
  • Hollywood blockbuster “Black Panther” will be the first film shown in Saudi Arabia in 35 years

PARIS: Saudi Arabia will officially participate for the first time in the Cannes Film Festival, Arab News has learned from a source at the Kingdom’s Ministry of Culture and Information.
Riyadh is also planning to constitute a film board tasked with regulating and supporting the industry. The board will report to the newly formed General Culture Authority.
The Kingdom is reopening cinemas on April 18 for the first time in more than 35 years, with Hollywood blockbuster “Black Panther” being the first film shown.
Saudi Arabia, with a population of over 32 million most of whom are under 30, is expected to become the region’s largest market for movie theater operators, with annual ticket sales being estimated at up to $1 billion.
Experts say Saudi Arabia’s participation in the 71st Cannes Film Festival will give Saudi filmmakers a big opportunity to showcase their talent on the world stage.
AMC, the largest cinema operator in the world, was awarded an operating license last week by the Ministry of Culture and Information.
About 350 cinemas with more than 2,500 screens are expected to be in operation by 2030.
One of the goals of Saudi Vision 2030 is to improve the quality of life by providing additional entertainment opportunities, Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad, the minister of culture and information, said last week.
Vision 2030 sets a goal of raising Saudi Arabia’s annual spending on cultural and entertainment activities from 2.9 percent of Saudi family expenditure at present to 6 percent by 2030.


Google CEO calls for regulation of artificial intelligence

Updated 20 January 2020

Google CEO calls for regulation of artificial intelligence

  • Sundar Pichai’s comments come as lawmakers and governments seriously consider putting limits on how artificial intelligence is used
  • Pichai’s comments suggest the company may be hoping to head off a broad-based crackdown by the EU on the technology

LONDON: Google’s chief executive called Monday for a balanced approach to regulating artificial intelligence, telling a European audience that the technology brings benefits but also “negative consequences.”

Sundar Pichai’s comments come as lawmakers and governments seriously consider putting limits on how artificial intelligence is used.

“There is no question in my mind that artificial intelligence needs to be regulated. The question is how best to approach this,” Pichai said, according to a transcript of his speech at a Brussel-based think tank.

He noted that there’s an important role for governments to play and that as the European Union and the US start drawing up their own approaches to regulation, “international alignment” of any eventual rules will be critical. He did not provide specific proposals.

Pichai spoke on the same day he was scheduled to meet the EU’s powerful competition regulator, Margrethe Vestager.

Vestager has in previous years hit the Silicon Valley giant with multibillion-dollar fines for allegedly abusing its market dominance to choke off competition. After being reappointed for a second term last autumn with expanded powers over digital technology policies, Vestager has now set her sights on artificial intelligence, and is drawing up rules on its ethical use.

Pichai’s comments suggest the company may be hoping to head off a broad-based crackdown by the EU on the technology. Vestager and the EU have been the among the more aggressive regulators of big tech firms, an approach US authorities have picked up with investigations into the dominance of companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

“Sensible regulation must also take a proportionate approach, balancing potential harms with social opportunities,” he said, adding that it could incorporate existing standards like Europe’s tough General Data Protection Regulation rather than starting from scratch.

While it promises big benefits, he raised concerns about potential downsides of artificial intelligence, citing as one example its role in facial recognition technology, which can be used to find missing people but also for “nefarious reasons” which he didn’t specify.

In 2018, Google pledged not to use AI in applications related to weapons, surveillance that violates international norms, or that works in ways that go against human rights.