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His Highness the Minister of Culture: AI Artathon confirms the leadership's interest in all cultural sectors

His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud addresses closing ceremony of the AI Artathon, the world’s first AI Art Hackathon

Riyadh, 25 January, 2020: Under the patronage of His Highness Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al Saud, Minister of Culture, the closing ceremony of the AI Artathon took place this evening at the King Abdullah Financial Center in Riyadh, during which the winners of the first round of the competition were announced. The winning teams will have their art works displayed at an exhibition during the Global AI Summit, which will be held in Riyadh on 30-31st March 2020.

His Highness the Minister of Culture gave a speech in which he thanked the participants in the AI Artathon, which is a first step for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in this field. His Highness said: "The Arts is witnessing a new generation of creative tools, and on an international scale, a new artistic movement of AI Art is emerging. My country has taken an interest in artificial intelligence because we recognize it is the most important component of the fourth industrial revolution, and a strategic tool in building for the future.”

His Highness said that the AI Artathon confirms the importance of the Arts to the future of Saudi Arabia "and this reveals the wise leadership's interest in culture in all its sectors”.

His Highness noted the interest of the Ministry of Culture in fostering creativity and keeping pace with developments in the arts and cultural sectors "because man is the essence of development and its backbone in our dear country."

The AI Artathon, an initiative of the Global AI Summit, is organized by the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, and through a strategic partnership with the Ministry of Culture, and the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones.

Twenty teams have now been selected for the next stage of the competition which will see the competitors take part in two months of advanced training and workshops to empower them with the skills to turn their concepts into AI works of art.

The top ten pieces will be displayed in a gallery exhibition to be held at the Global AI Summit on 30-31st March. The top three teams will split a prize fund of SAR500,000 (US$133,000).

The AI Artathon received over 2,000 applications, from over 50 countries worldwide. Three hundred applicants, with skills in creative arts, computer science, data science and artificial intelligence were then invited to join the hackathon which took place at King Abdullah Financial District.

Teams worked around the clock, with support from local and international expert mentors and AI professionals, to develop creative concepts. The AI Artathon is part of a growing movement of AI Art where human creators work together with computers to use machine learning, AI neural networks, data and algorithms to develop new artistic work.

His Excellency Dr. Abdullah Bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi, President of the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, and Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Global AI Summit, said that the AI Artathon is intended to highlight the creative potential of AI and its positive benefits to humanity, a key theme of the upcoming Global AI Summit.

“The AI Artathon is an important part of the Global AI Summit. It was very positive to see all of these competitors coming together from Saudi Arabia and around the world to collaborate and create using Artificial Intelligence,” said HE Dr. Abdullah.

“In the same way, the Global AI Summit aims to bring together global government and business leaders, AI experts, academics and investors so that Saudi Arabia can lead discussions on how we can all shape the future of AI together.”

“I would like to congratulate all of the AI Artathon competitors for their participation, their hard work and exciting ideas, and I am looking forward to seeing the creative and innovative works of art which they produce over the next two months,” HE Dr. Abdullah concluded.

ABOUT THE GLOBAL AI SUMMIT

Taking place in Riyadh in March 2020, the Global AI Summit connects key decision makers from government and public sector, academia, industry and enterprise, technology companies, investors, entrepreneurs and startups, to initiate discussions and collaboration on artificial intelligence, including its applications, impact on social and economic development, and the global challenges and opportunities that are created by AI. The Global AI Summit will be held at the King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center and Ritz Carlton Hotel on 30-31st March 2020.