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Saudi Arabia and UAE outperform UK and Germany for AI innovation: Report findings

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are uniquely positioned to drive innovation in artificial intelligence after the coronavirus pandemic, a new report has revealed.

Results of a YouGov survey commissioned by US analytics automation firm Alteryx showed that 50% of employees surveyed in both countries were now able to automate their daily tasks.

And 58% of employees surveyed said they were able to produce results faster through the use of analytics technology compared to five years ago.

In comparison, only 16% of workers in the UK and 24% in Germany said they could automate similar tasks, according to the report.

YouGov surveyed over 300 employees in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates who worked with data at large companies.

However, the research found that inconsistently applied training programs were still hampering the region, with only existing experts – such as skilled data scientists – getting a vital upgrade. Highlighting the magnitude of this need, 97% of Gulf workers agreed that training was needed for all staff handling data.

Muhammad Khurram Khan, professor of cybersecurity at King Saud University in Riyadh, told Arab News: “The advancement of AI and automation has allowed machines to outperform human workers in more ways, which results in increased productivity, increased efficiency and reduced labor costs. ”

He said Alteryx’s findings show how Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have become tech-savvy and willing to embrace digital transformation.

“Saudi Arabia, as a tech pioneer, is harnessing the potential of AI with a plan to inject $135.2 billion into its economy by 2030, equivalent to 12.4% of product national gross domestic.

“This will not only make the Kingdom one of the world leaders in AI, but will also transform it into a knowledge-based and data-driven economy.

“Data and AI are at the heart of the Saudi Vision 2030, which has manifested through the initiatives and strategies recently launched and led by the Saudi Data and AI Authority. This will not only develop Saudi Arabia as a data and AI powerhouse, but also make it a global hub for research, development, business and innovation,” he added.

Khan pointed out that one of the stumbling blocks that can hinder AI-driven innovations is the upskilling and re-skilling of experts and professionals with state-of-the-art data science tools, techniques and knowledge and in analysis.

He said, “Therefore, it is imperative to launch modern education and training programs to prepare the workforce for new challenges in this field.”

Tauseef Ahmad, health informatics analyst at King Saud University, told Arab News: “It is inspiring to see the new findings with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region adopting technology to update operations. daily. Recent years have seen the rapid adoption of updated technologies.

“The report showed that employee productivity grew 58% faster than five years ago, showing that these significant successes could never have been achieved without the help of data scientists. However, proper training and workshops would help cover the remaining 42% of employees.

“By providing a foundation of data skills to all employees and removing pressure from data and technology teams, business leaders can minimize the challenges they face,” he said.

While advances in AI and automation have enabled machines to outcompete human workers, Saudi smart apps such as Absher, Tawakkalna and Sehhaty have made things easier during the pandemic by offering innovative and intelligent interactive services. to meet the needs of the public.

The number of registered users of Absher exceeded 23 million last year, with the platform providing more than 300 electronic services for individuals, businesses, job seekers and government, while also enabling online transactions.

The Tawakkalna app, launched last year by Saudi authorities to help track COVID-19 infections, is available in 75 countries around the world. It has been designed around the prevention and management of COVID-19 and has a section to help people avoid entering areas with high incidence of cases. The app has been updated to show an individual’s COVID-19 health status.

The Saudi Ministry of Health’s Sehhaty app allows users to access online health information and medical services provided by health organizations across the Kingdom. These include scheduling appointments for COVID-19 tests and vaccines, self-assessment checks, vital signs updates, tracking prescribed medications, and collecting and sharing time off. of illness.

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