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KFAS’s forward-looking symposium on Artificial Intelligence kicks off at Kuwait University

Nov 20, 2018

Sheikha Aida Salem: The symposium realizes H.H the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah’s vision to transform Kuwait into a financial, commercial and technological hub.

Dr. Adnan A. Shihab Eldin: KFAS is committed to spearheading national efforts to transform the country into a knowledge-driven economy.

The Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) is excited to begin a forward-looking symposium on the "Promise of Artificial Intelligence: Present and Future". The event launched on November 19 at Kuwait University under the patronage of H.E. Sheikha Aida Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the H.H. Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award, and was co-sponsored by the US Embassy in Kuwait.

The three-day symposium featured a variety of Kuwaiti, Arab and US academics, researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs, all specializing in artificial intelligence.

During her keynote address, Sheikha Aida Salem said: "As we now live in the era of 'big data,’ we forecast a rapid rise in employment opportunities related to the manufacture, programming, operation and maintenance of robotics; a broad field that offers promising career paths, especially for the tech-savvy."

"This scientific event comes as part of our commitment to realizing the vision of H.H. Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, the Amir of Kuwait, to transform Kuwait into a financial, commercial and technological hub," she stated, noting the vital role played by sciences as a catalyst for growth and social transformation.

The symposium focused on three key areas:

AI is Advancing Science and Technology explored algorithms and technology in big data, advanced computational biology and bioinformatics. It also dove into current machine learning efforts as well as the field’s outlook in the near future.

AI is Changing our Lives Profoundly showcased the impact of AI on our social and professional identities. The session highlighted success stories of human ingenuity, with a focus on business applications.

AI is Shaping the Future of Education focused on where advances in AI are taking education. In this session, speakers shared their experiences with applying AI to improve education across a number of different models and settings.

Participants were looking to produce science-based recommendations to chart a roadmap for developing AI research and applications in Kuwait, particularly toward reorienting education and supporting Kuwaiti young people to keep pace with new changes and challenges in the labor market.

Speaking on the first day of the symposium, KFAS Director-General Dr. Adnan A. Shihab Eldin explained that, "By organizing this symposium, KFAS renews its commitment to spearheading national efforts to transform the country into a knowledge-driven economy, through the foundation’s partnerships with local, regional and international organizations."

He predicted the growing effects of AI, robotics and machine learning would continue to be felt across a range of social, economic and educational areas.

Shihab Eldin also thanked US Ambassador to Kuwait Lawrence R. Silverman for his support for the symposium, noting that some embassy representatives had registered to attend the opening ceremony and various sessions.

The symposium was the fruit of long-standing cooperation between KFAS and the board of the H.H. Sheikh Salem Al-Ali Al-Sabah Informatics Award and was organized in conjunction with the 43rd Kuwait International Book Fair with the generous support of Kuwait University President Dr. Hussein Al-Ansari.

This was the second year in a row that KFAS marked the Kuwait International Book Fair with a special event delving into a significant scientific phenomenon and its possible impacts on Kuwait, coupled with cultural activities to raise awareness about the subject among citizens, young people and children.

This year's theme was chosen through deliberations between KFAS and the Al-Sabah Informatics Awards, and Kuwait University’s campus was chosen as the venue to attract the attention of both faculty and students.

The symposium is a product of a joint effort by KFAS, the Al-Sabah Informatics Award, Kuwait University and the Public Authority for Applied Education and Training.

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