MBC ‘boot camp’ aims to train young Saudi creatives

MBC program, ‘The Voice Kids,’ the Arabic version of the international reality television competition. (AFP)
Updated 29 March 2019

MBC ‘boot camp’ aims to train young Saudi creatives

  • Saudi Arabia is aiming to develop its production and creative industries as the country focuses on economic diversification
  • The boot camp will be open to young Saudi individuals who already have prior experience in the production of media content

LONDON: Broadcaster MBC Group has launched a specialized industry training program that aims to sharpen the skills of young Saudis interested in a career in the cultural and creative industries.
The boot camp will be open to young Saudi individuals who already have prior experience in the production of media content or creative projects and are looking to develop a career in the industry.
“The launch is in line with MBC Group’s belief in the importance of supporting an integrated productive environment in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the broadcaster said in a statement on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia is aiming to develop its production and creative industries as the country focuses on economic diversification.
The courses are scheduled to begin later this year and will focus on film and cinema, as well as TV drama.
Students will be able to tap the expertise of leading studios, production companies, professional trainers and TV stars. The aim is to eventually export local productions to the world, in collaboration with MBC Studios, MBC Group’s original content production division.
The courses will cover disciplines that include scriptwriting, production, and directing.
Candidates who complete one of the program’s will have the opportunity to apply for internships and jobs at MBC Studios.


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.