RIYADH: Artificial intelligence (AI) is expected to contribute an estimated SR500 billion ($133 billion) to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product by 2030, according to the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA).
The SDAIA was launched last August by royal decree and is responsible for overseeing the country’s data and AI strategy through the National Data Management Office, the National Information Center, and the National Center for Artificial Intelligence.
The SDAIA said the value of Saudi Arabia’s data and AI economy was currently estimated at between SR15 - 20 billion, and that there was an opportunity to generate additional revenues and savings of over SR40 billion by harnessing data insights to help guide government decisions.
“We have witnessed firsthand the early impact of AI and data-driven initiatives and their potential to propel Saudi Arabia’s future economy, but we are still in the early stages with several untapped opportunities available,” Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, president of the SDAIA, said at a launch event for the authority's new logo.
The SDAIA seeks to place the Kingdom among the world’s leading economies by adopting AI. It is hosting a global AI summit at Riyadh’s King Abdulaziz International Conference Center at the end of this month that will bring together stakeholders from the public sector, academia and the private sector.
“We at the SDAIA have been tasked with defining the national data and AI strategy, and delivering on our nation’s vision for the future by optimizing our national resources, improving efficiencies and enabling the creation of diversified economic sectors," Al-Ghamdi told people at the launch event.
He said that the SDAIA had made a lot of progress in its first year of operations. The establishment of a national data bank had consolidated more than 80 government datasets, corresponding to 30 percent of government digital assets. The authority aims to build one of the largest clouds in the region by merging 83 data centers owned by over 40 government bodies, and utilizing AI-analyzed data to detect opportunities that could generate more than SR40 billion in government savings and additional revenues.
Al-Ghamdi emphasized the importance of data, citing a global expert who described data as "oil of the 21st century" and a study from global research firm Gartner that said the value of data would reach $2.9 trillion by 2021 and generate around 3.4 million jobs in AI-based data and analysis.
“Data is the single most important driver of our growth and reform in the 21st century, and we have a clear vision and roadmap for transforming Saudi Arabia into a leading AI and data-driven economy. The SDAIA is at the forefront of this transformation and is primed for national data and AI agenda definition, implementation and awareness," said Al-Ghamdi.
Around 70 percent of 96 strategic goals under Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform plan are closely related to data and AI.