quotes King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology’s pioneering role in health innovation — the GI-AI4H meeting

27 October 2023
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Updated 27 October 2023

King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology’s pioneering role in health innovation — the GI-AI4H meeting

The King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology is taking a significant step forward in advancing Saudi Arabia’s health care sector by hosting the first meeting of the GI-AI4H in Riyadh.

Scheduled from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, the meeting is a crucial part of the Global Initiative on AI for Health, establishing a dialogue between member states to exchange knowledge and stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in health-related fields.

This meeting represents an important milestone within GI-AI4H, which is a collaborative effort among multiple UN agencies.

The meeting themes — enable, facilitate, implement — represent more than slogans. They are a framework, laying down actionable plans to guide in an era of artificial intelligence in health care. These objectives seek to make AI an integral part of a robust, intelligent and sustainable health care system, advancing the sector into the future.

Global organizations such as the World Health Organization, International Telecommunication Union and World Intellectual Property Organization collaborate in organizing this event. Their participation adds a multidimensional perspective that enriches dialogue, highlighting the global significance of the issues. Such international collaboration sets the stage for examining challenges and opportunities, offering a broad view of how AI can serve public health.

Another compelling aspect of the meeting is the call for participation from startups. This is indicative of a broader vision that values local innovation. Startups are agile, adaptable and quick to implement new technologies.

They can serve as testing grounds for new ideas before these concepts go mainstream. By inviting them to the table, the meeting organizers are accessing a rich source of creativity and ingenuity, preparing for transformative changes in health care.

What does this mean for professionals, academics and entrepreneurs interested in the health sector and AI? The answer is simple — attendance is imperative. This event is a way to observe and a platform to contribute ideas, share expertise and forge partnerships. The meeting’s themes serve as a guideline for action, a blueprint for the future of health care in which AI will play a crucial role. Being part of this event offers an opportunity to be at the forefront of defining that future.

It is no exaggeration to say that the decisions and collaborations formed during this meeting could influence health care strategies and policies for years to come. Herein lies the critical role of KACST as a venue. By hosting this event, KACST is endorsing and actively participating in an effort to find innovative solutions to complex health care challenges. It is making a tangible contribution to scientific dialogue, underlining its commitment to be a leader in technological advancement.

The GI-AI4H meeting at KACST is a crucial junction for multiple sectors. If you are an academic, this is your chance to collaborate on applied research projects and find pathways to bring your theories into practice. For professionals in health care and technology, the event offers an opportunity to discover cutting-edge solutions that could be implemented in your organizations. Entrepreneurs and startups should use this opportunity to network with potential investors and strategic partners. Policymakers and government officials will find the discussions invaluable for shaping future public health policies that are informed, influential and forward-thinking.

Your voice — whether you come from the public sector, an academic institution, a health care enterprise or a startup — matters. KACST’s hosting of this event emphasizes the need for an interdisciplinary approach to health care solutions. It is not just about being a viewer but about being an active contributor to a dialogue that could set the course for health care in Saudi Arabia and globally. In a setting that aims for a collective, multi-sectoral approach to problem-solving, your voice could be the facilitator for the next big breakthrough in health care.

• Ahoud Alshaikh, Ph.D., M.Sc., M.A., Harvard CSML, is an education expert specializing in edtech, educational assessment, public-private partnerships and educational corporate governance.