World first AI Artathon announces participating teams in Saudi Arabia

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The 20 teams that qualified for Saudi Arabia’s AI Artathon were announced on Saturday at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center. (Supplied)
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The 20 teams that qualified for Saudi Arabia’s AI Artathon were announced on Saturday at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center. (Supplied)
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Updated 25 January 2020

World first AI Artathon announces participating teams in Saudi Arabia

  • Applicants spent three days taking part in workshops and training sessions to enhance their skills, before forming teams to create concepts for AI art
  • The top teams will join a two-month AI training program in order to create their final artworks

RIYADH: The 20 teams that qualified for Saudi Arabia’s AI Artathon were announced on Saturday at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center.
The world’s first AI Artathon officially opened on Thursday in Riyadh, with 300 experts in data science and AI, graphic designers and artists competing to create visual arts using artificial intelligence.
The gathering received over 2,000 applications from 50 countries.
Applicants spent three days taking part in workshops and training sessions to enhance their skills, before forming teams to create concepts for AI art. The top teams will join a two-month AI training program in order to create their final artworks.
The top ten pieces will be selected for an exhibition at the Global AI Summit, held in Riyadh on March 30 and 31, and the top three teams will split a prize fund of SAR500,000 ($133,000)
Prince Badr Bin Abdullah Bin Farhan, minister of culture, said the ministry was pleased to be supporting the initiative of the Artathon, and highlighted its importance for Saudi Arabia.
“Since its inception, the Ministry of Culture has been invested in nurturing the talent and creativity of people in Saudi Arabia, and the study of the connection between art and AI will give us ample opportunity to do so,” he said in his address.
Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, president of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA), said that the Artathon is intended to highlight the creative potential of AI and its positive benefits to humanity.
“The AI Artathon is an important part of the Global AI Summit. We are very pleased to see all of the competitors coming together, from Saudi Arabia and around the world, to collaborate and create,” said Al-Ghamdi.
“The Global AI Summit aims to bring together global government and business leaders, AI experts, academics and investors so that Saudi Arabia can lead discussions on how we can shape the future of AI together,” he added.
Esraa Madi, a data science instructor in the Artathon, said that she was happy to see the new opportunities for AI unfolding in the Kingdom.
“This is going to open so many doors in two previously unrelated fields: Art and AI. A lot of the artists came in not knowing how we as data scientists and AI experts could help them in their art, so it was interesting even though it was challenging,” she told Arab News.
Mohammed Dayal Al-Shamrani, a participating artist, told Arab News that he was happy to see more opportunities for local artists to showcase their talents back home instead of having to leave the country to get involved in art.
“I used to travel to Dubai a lot, because of the opportunities for artists that I couldn’t get back home. I even did the research for my doctorate in Dubai. But since these new opportunities have arisen here in Saudi, I haven’t needed to go back at all,” he said.
The Artathon program is sponsored by the Public Investment Fund and is supported by strategic partners the Ministry of Culture and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones.


Saudi deputy defense minister, British defense secretary discuss regional security

Updated 50 min 32 sec ago

Saudi deputy defense minister, British defense secretary discuss regional security

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed regional and global security with British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Tuesday.
They discussed the partnership between the two countries, especially in the defense field, and the efforts made by the two nations to “enhance regional and international security,” said a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
Wallace expressed Britain’s appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s role in addressing threats to stability in the region, especially in regards to protecting maritime corridors.