Ancient and modern: The Arabic language gets a boost from AI

Ancient and modern: The Arabic language gets a boost from AI
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Updated 06 January 2022

Ancient and modern: The Arabic language gets a boost from AI

Ancient and modern: The Arabic language gets a boost from AI
  • Head of the King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language tells how the latest technology is helping to improve knowledge and teaching methods

MAKKAH: Artificial intelligence is an increasingly important part of modern life and the technologies we rely on, but it is also being used to enhance awareness and understanding of more traditional and long-established aspects of our lives and cultures.

For example, AI is serving the Arabic language through its use in applications that support teaching and learning and assist in the development of dictionaries and programs to help millions of people worldwide to learn and use the language.

Abdullah Al-Washmi, the secretary-general of the King Salman Global Academy for Arabic Language, told Arab News that the academy aims to become a global reference resource for the language by providing the tools required to promote, teach, learn and encourage the use of Arabic, in accordance with the objectives of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its Human Capability Development Program.

Part of the academy’s strategy involves a focus on accelerating the pace of technical research in various fields relating to the Arabic language, using AI tools to aid understanding, he added.

AI has become a major enabler of the teaching and learning of languages, Al-Washmi said, by helping to provide multiple learning patterns that allow students to learn Arabic in ways tailored to their needs. He added that they can choose the form and level of teaching that best suits them, along with the specific field in which they intend to use the language, and the AI will adapt each student’s learning experience to their particular needs by helping to identify and address any weaknesses and build on strengths.

“When it comes to Arabic speakers, AI helps them develop their skills by providing tools for learning Arabic grammar in a way that differs from the one taught in traditional books,” Al-Washmi said.

“In addition to teaching young people the language using techniques and educational methods that fit their needs, AI also enables students to choose the method through which they want to learn, such as simulation, dialogue or other methods they might prefer.”

AI provides amazing solutions thanks to the high-performance devices it runs on and the amount of data it can process, he added. For example, it can help people learn Arabic and develop reading skills by automatically identifying and correcting pronunciation, evaluating the current reading level, and helping to control the speed of reading, speaking and listening. It can also help to develop writing skills by correcting spelling, grammar, semantics and generating complete sentences.

AI can help to enhance the level of speaking and listening skills through smart dialogue systems, Al-Washmi said. It also allows users to explore other linguistic fields such as summarizing, translating, improving searches, detecting fraud, plagiarism and rumors, identifying hate speech and answering questions. All of these contributions are grouped into a science called natural language processing, or computational linguistics, which brings together specialists in AI and linguistics.

Speaking about modern ideas for teaching Arabic through AI, he said that the use of robots has received widespread acclaim in educational circles in many parts of the world. These robots offer near-limitless opportunities for students to think, design, implement their ideas, employ scientific principles and complete research.

AI is helping to make robots more intelligent and effective in communicating, following instructions, answering questions, providing lessons, and performing some Arab customs that Arabic-language students sometimes needs to know to help them learn, Al-Washmi said.

He added that the virtual world offers opportunities to facilitate the teaching and learning of Arabic and make the educational experience more exciting and enjoyable. It also allows students to become totally immersed in virtual Arabic-speaking environments.

The academy recently concluded a deal with THIQAH Business Services to develop applications for the Arabic language by building linguistic data sources and tools for archiving and analysis and making them available to academics, experts, and students. This project aims to raise knowledge and awareness of the Arabic language and improve the quality of published Arabic content.


Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council
Updated 9 sec ago

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with the Yemeni Chairman of the Presidential Leadership Council Rashad Al-Alimi on Wednesday.

Developing


Saudi officials sign deal to develop Saudi UK Tech Hub

Saudi officials sign deal to develop Saudi UK Tech Hub
Updated 16 min 6 sec ago

Saudi officials sign deal to develop Saudi UK Tech Hub

Saudi officials sign deal to develop Saudi UK Tech Hub
  • Ministry and Saudi British Joint Business Council will work together on platform to connect entrepreneurs in both countries with partners and investors

RIYADH: The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi British Joint Business Council to develop the Saudi UK Tech Hub, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The hub is a digital platform that aims to connect Saudi and British entrepreneurs with partners and supporters in both countries, while enhancing and supporting the technical ecosystems.

Under the agreement, which was signed by Ibrahim Al-Nasser, undersecretary at the ministry, and SBJBC CEO Chris Anis Hopkins, the two sides will establish a board of directors comprising representatives from the Saudi and British public and private sectors. SBJBC will manage the hub’s financial affairs and provide support.

By helping to facilitate knowledge transfer, increase investment, and strengthen relationships, the platform aims to support the efforts of both countries to develop their positions as regional technology and innovation hubs, authorities said.

 


Arab, Muslim leaders congratulate Saudi crown prince on his appointment as prime minister

Arab, Muslim leaders congratulate Saudi crown prince on his appointment as prime minister
Updated 38 min 46 sec ago

Arab, Muslim leaders congratulate Saudi crown prince on his appointment as prime minister

Arab, Muslim leaders congratulate Saudi crown prince on his appointment as prime minister
  • Leaders wish Saudi crown prince success and hope that relations between their countries will continue to grow under his leadership

RIYADH: Arab and Muslim leaders have congratulated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following his appointment as Saudi Arabia’s prime minister on Tuesday, Saudi Press Agency reported.  

UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum congratulated the crown prince on his appointment.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani wished the crown prince success and hoped the relations between the two brotherly countries will continue to develop and grow. 

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa also sent a similar cable. 

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said: “On this occasion, I congratulate His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, wishing him further success and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia further welfare and prosperity under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.”


Saudi tourism gets chance to bloom in UN challenge

Saudi tourism gets chance to bloom in UN challenge
Updated 28 September 2022

Saudi tourism gets chance to bloom in UN challenge

Saudi tourism gets chance to bloom in UN challenge
  • The UNWTO’s Natalia Bayona said that Saudi Arabia is a “priority because of how the country is committed to creating tourism as a public policy and as an economic sector” 
  • Bayona added that goals in the country’s Vision 2030 for “youth empowerment, women’s empowerment, sustainability, and tourism” are central to the UNWTO’s mission

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s blossoming tourism industry is being offered the chance to grow even faster through a UN challenge that helps nurture the best businesses.

Natalia Bayona of the UN World Tourism Organization has said she wants Saudi entrepreneurs to enter her agency’s Awake Tourism Challenge, whose previous winners have gained international experience and expert advice, and raised $350 million of investment over the four years it has run.

Bayona, the agency’s director of innovation, education and investments, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is a “priority because of how the country is committed to creating tourism as a public policy and as an economic sector.” 

She added that goals in the country’s Vision 2030 for “youth empowerment, women’s empowerment, sustainability, and tourism” are central to the UNWTO’s mission.

“We’d like to give visibility and promote Saudi Arabia as a country making a strong effort in the tourism sector,” she said.

The challenge is a perfect opportunity to identify Saudi-based entrepreneurs trying to solve challenges they face in the sector, Bayona added.

Entrants are judged in one or more categories, including local community involvement, environmental work, good use of technology, employee development and the empowerment of women in business.

Bayona said the UNWTO is pushing for enterprises to employ locally to help develop rural economies.

“Eighty percent of people living in extreme poverty live in rural areas. Tourism can be part of the way rural areas can be developed,” she said.

Bayona added that women’s empowerment is important “because they have the lowest salaries, the lowest-status jobs. Nonetheless, tourism is the sector that hires the most women worldwide.”

She said the basing of her agency’s regional office in Saudi Arabia shows how seriously it takes the country’s efforts to expand tourism.

The UNWTO’s partners include tourism bodies from more than 160 countries, 100 universities, more than 400 investors and around 500 corporations.

The Awake Tourism Challenge has helped winners raise more than $350 million and helped create more than 100 pilot projects. The deadline to enter this year’s initiative is Oct. 15.


Saudi authorities seize 765,000 amphetamine tablets hidden in watermelons

Saudi authorities seize 765,000 amphetamine tablets hidden in watermelons
Updated 28 September 2022

Saudi authorities seize 765,000 amphetamine tablets hidden in watermelons

Saudi authorities seize 765,000 amphetamine tablets hidden in watermelons

RIYADH: Saudi authorities have seized 765,000 amphetamine tablets hidden in a watermelon shipment in Riyadh.
Five people – two citizens and three Syrians – were arrested in the security operation and have been referred to relevant authorities for further action, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
Saudi Arabia has intensified its crackdown on drug smuggling networks.
Recently, authorities carried out a major security operation to thwart the smuggling of about 47 million amphetamine tablets, with a street value of up to $1 billion, in what was described as the Kingdom’s biggest drug bust ever.