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Saudi's zero-carbon smart city; New AI journalism index launched
Here’s this week’s Middle East AI News!
After a quiet first week of the year, the season seems to have really kicked off with a wide variety of AI and emerging technology related announcements and initiatives. Among them, Sunday's video announcement by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman about the new zero-carbon city 'The Line'; the launch of DEWA's Space-D initiative in Dubai; and Etisalat's plans to create an autonomous communications network.
Scroll down for news on startups, education, retail, smart cities, digital transformation, space, telecom, employment, drones and media.
Stay safe and have a great weekend!
#Egypt #funding - AI fintech startup Cassbana, which uses AI to run a behaviour-based credit-scoring system, has raised a $1 million pre-seed funding round to help it expand. Founded last year, Cassbana uses machine learning to offer financial identities for underserved and unbanked consumers.(Disrupt Africa)
#Bahrain #fintech - Bahrain-based Square Funds uses AI to match investors with the most suitable investment opportunity available to them in the MENA region. Launched in 2019, the startup has been operating under the Central Bank of Bahrain Regulatory Sandbox and has created 65 investment solutions. (SME10X)
#UAE #MBZUAI - Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence welcomed its first students during an online event on Tuesday. The 78 students from 29 countries will begin their studies in Abu Dhabi this week. There are 14 Emiratis in the cohort. (The National)
#Egypt #education - The Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala El-Said has approved EGP 50 million ($3.19m) in funds that will go towards launching the Digital Egypt Builders initiative. The initiative falls under the “Building the Egyptian People” project, and aims to empower the next generation of Egyptian graduates. (Zawya.com)
#UAE #R&D - Emirates Global Aluminium has awarded an AED150,000 ($40.8k) grant to three proposals from Abu Dhabi University Electrical, Computer, and Mechanical Engineering students to build drones and robots. (Emirates News Agency)
#Bahrain #education - The 3rd edition of the Khalid bin Hamad Competition for Innovation in Artificial Intelligence is open for entries until February 5th. The competition is open to university and high school students (under 25 years old). (Microsoft)
#UAE #retail - Nakheel Malls said it is partnering with AI and data-driven consulting firm Artefact to set up a platform that will provide insights into consumer behaviour for its consumer-facing clients. (Zawya.com)
#Saudi #smartcities - Saudi Arabia has announced 'The Line', a huge new zero-carbon city to be built at NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia. The city will have no cars and no streets, be carbon-positive, powered by completely clean energy, will be cognitive and powered by AI. (Arab News)
#UAE #emergencyservices - UAE Ministry of Community Development (MoCD) is providing free installation of its ‘Hassantuk’ smart fire alarm system service to villa owners who are registered under the social security scheme. The 24x7 service uses AI and other smart technologies to monitor and report fire incidents. (Emirates News Agency)
#Egypt #DX - Egypt’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has announced that 16 small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will implement 15 digital transformation projects at government agencies. Contracts are worth more than EGP 43.5 million ($2,78m) and fall under the 'Our Opportunity is Digital' initiative. (Daily News Egypt)
#UAE #spacetech - Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) launched its Space-D initiative this week, to build new spacetech capabilities and train Emirati professionals in using AI, IoT, blockchain and satellite systems. (Khaleej Times)
#UAE #telecom - UAE based telecoms giant, Etisalat, is building the region’s first open, autonomous and secured network, making use of Cisco Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning automation to simplify its Emirates Internet Exchange (EMIX) operations with a set of innovative use cases. (ITP.net)
#Saudi #employment - Bandar Alkhorayef, Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, said that any replacement of humans by advanced technology, including AI, will be at the expense of only expat workers and not Saudi nationals. (Arab News)
#UAE #entertainment - Intel has become known for its drone light shows and has not disappointed at its latest project currently taking place in Dubai, UAE. Intel is running twice-daily shows featuring 300 drones over the whole 45 day Dubai Shopping Festival. (Commercial Drone Professional)
#Kuwait #regulation - Kuwait officials have warned that flying remote-controlled drones in the country without permits is banned. Amateurs are not allowed to fly remote-control drones and gliders without permits from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and other authorities. (Gulf Business)
#Iran #defence - During a recent drill, Iran tested out its latest addition to the battlefield: a set of kamikaze or suicide drones as a show of power toward the US. The kamikaze drones flew around 870 miles above the Gulf of Oman but have a maximum range of 2,485 miles. (Droned DJ)
#UAE #media - A UAE-based think tank, Artificial Intelligence Journalism for Research and Forecasting (AIJRF), has launched the Global Artificial Intelligence Journalism Index (GAIJI), the world's first index tracking AI's use in the media. (Scoop)
#Saudi #imaging - A digital museum curator is using AI tools to help bring the history of Saudi Arabia back to the future. Omar Murshid, who set up Al-Masmak Digital Museum a decade ago, is transforming old black-and-white photographs and rare film footage into color images. (Arab News)
#Oman #futuretech - Sohar International is hosting the 5th virtual edition of its popular Viewpoints forum on January 17 starting at 7:30pm, with renowned scientist Dr Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor at Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (New Jersey), USA. (Times of Oman)
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