‘Be Inclusive’: Global business gurus tell LEAP23 attendees to seek BD

LEAP23, the world’s most visionary technology event, finished its four-day run in Riyadh on Thursday with Steven Bartlett, the Botswana-born British entrepreneur, and Baroness Karren Brady CBE expounding the importance of diversity and inclusion to create a successful business.Bartlett is a best-selling author and produces Diary of a CEO, one of the world’s most-downloaded podcast series. During a session inside the Riyadh Front Exhibition and Conference Centre, the 31-year-old discussed the rapid pace of change and, citing former US President Barack Obama, the importance of building a team representative of a diverse world.“We both spoke at a conference in Sao Paulo and he said to Brazil: If you are not inclusive as a country, all you are doing is punishing yourself because you are leaving your talent off the field,” Bartlett said. “If you leave people off the field, you have a blind spot – as a country, as a business, in any project you a building. It is a competitive advantage to be inclusive in the boardroom when key decisions are made because if you are not, you are only hurting yourself.”The same premise of diversity works when it comes to the creation and innovation process, said Bartlett, who is the youngest-ever investor on hit British TV show Dragons’ Den.“There are five of us on the panel, but only one mother, so if an entrepreneur was pitching a product for mothers and she wasn’t there, it would be very easy to see how we could end up deploying our capital without fully understanding the problem the product is trying to solve,” he told attendees during a fireside discussion. “If you want to build something that is representative of the world – whether it’s in VR, AI, or whatever – you need to make sure the data going in is truly representative or you’ll be disadvantaged because you’ll create imbalanced products that don’t fully represent the market.”Continuing the theme of diversity in the workplace, Brady – the first female managing director of a top-flight English football club and the youngest MD of a British private limited company – said that even while women continue to play catch-up in terms of the gender pay-gap, the benefits of having women in positions of power cannot be overstated.“For every £1 a man makes, a woman makes 86p,” said Brady, returning to LEAP for a second consecutive year. “But now you can see women changing the course; they understand their worth and are prepared to step outside their comfort zone and show determination to get the career they want. Women are great in leadership roles. They galvanise a collective spirit, they manage people’s hearts and minds. They bring those things together, see opportunities, and work in a collaborative way. And because of that we are seeing more and more women getting seats around that table.”LEAP23 also culminated in the finale of DeepFest, a new co-located event held in partnership with the Saudi Data & Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA). Themed AI Beyond Imagination, DeepFest gathered drivers of the global AI ecosystem to unveil multi-sector initiatives to home in on AI implementation in areas such as clean tech, the Metaverse, women in technology, robotics, and more.The final day of DeepFest saw Luc Vincent, VP Engineering & Product Group Lead for AI at Meta, enthral audiences with an exclusive look at next-generation AR glasses and cognitive AI technology in a keynote session entitled: AI for Augmented Reality.“We believe that AR glasses can potentially help billions of people around the world and be more useful than the smartphones we carry in our pockets today. The potential of AR glasses for egocentric experiences is unlimited,” said Vincent. “AR glasses can unlock communications and instant translation, enable voice-command photography and smart capture, heighten location services, and enable numerous other smart actions.“In time, AR glasses will start to recognise context in different situations and notify the user of high-value moments. AR glasses will learn your goals and prompt smart reminders for shopping lists, birthday presents, remembering important documents, and so on. We call this cognitive AI. It’s incredible and the surface has only been scratched - but the key tech to enable all these experiences is AI.”

Rise of the robots as Saudi Arabia underscores global data and AI aspirations

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia today enhanced its game-changer status in the global data and artificial intelligence (AI) sectors with the opening instalment of DeepFest - a new co-located event held in partnership with the Saudi Data & Artificial Intelligence Authority (SDAIA) - on the side-lines of LEAP23, the world’s most visionary tech event.The inaugural DeepFest has gathered drivers of the global AI ecosystem to unveil multi-sector initiatives in a three-day thought-leadership conference with sector-specific tracks, trainings, live-demos, and startup pitches.Complemented by a dedicated exhibition featuring companies transforming the world we live and work in, the DeepFest conference program – themed AI Beyond Imagination – homes in on AI implementation in areas such as clean tech, the Metaverse, women in technology, and more – including robotics.Robots and avatars take centre-stage in future vision of human-robot symbiotic societyAmid the assembled pool of change-makers, big tech pioneers, data scientists, innovators, enterprises, academia, startups, and innovative business entrepreneurs, famed roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro delivered an inspired session titled Avatar and the Future Society.Ishiguro, the director of the Intelligent Robotics Laboratory – part of the Department of Systems Innovation in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Japan’s Osaka University – has been pioneering advancement in humanlike robotics since 1997. The 59-year-old has also been creating eerily realistic androids for over 15 years, including Geminoid HI-1 - the roboticist’s own virtual twin, who joined him on stage at DeepFest.Having spent his career dissecting the nature of what it means to be human, Ishiguro outlined how advances in robotics and avatars are narrowing the separation between human and humanoid.“By 2050, we want to realise a society in which people are free from the constraints of the body, brain, space, and time. The technology is being developed already; with our automated robotic tech, we can create avatars that anyone can use easily. I believe we can create avatars that will allow anyone – from children to the elderly, and everyone in between - to play an active role in society. With avatars, I believe we can change the world. We can choose to work, study, and socialise with real-life robotic or computer graphic (CG) avatars. Many companies in Japan are already using CG avatars for customer service - not in place of humans, but with humans controlling their own avatars. In Japan, we have an aging population problem, and we need to find solutions that allow people to work – this can be solved by using avatars and advanced robotic technology,” said Ishiguro.Other sessions in the day one DeepFest agenda included Neural-Symbolic AI Driving Progress Toward Artificial General Intelligence with Dr. Benjamin Goertzel, CEO of the SingulaityNET Foundation; Generative AI Revolution with Leonid Zhukov, Director of Boston Consulting Group’s Global AI Institute; How Technology is Inspiring the Future Workforce with Beverly Rider, CCO of Tonomous and CEO Tonomous VentureStudio, and more.

SDAIA and Google Cloud launch "Elevate" Program

The Saudi Data & AI Authority (SDAIA) and Google Cloud have announced a new collaboration aimed at enabling women in the world to practice new jobs in the field of artificial intelligence and machine learning in emerging markets by training more than 25,000 women over the next five years.The collaboration includes a program offers a 4-month education and training curriculum developed in collaboration with Google Cloud. The participants will have access to free training sessions designed to provide them with the skills and experience needed for roles such as cloud engineer, data engineer, and machine learning engineer.This came during the second Global AI Summit, held at King Abdulaziz International Conference Center in Riyadh from 13 to 15 September, 2022.