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Congress PCI shines spotlight on UAE’s leading role in AI, cultural development

Congress PCI shines spotlight on UAE’s leading role in AI, cultural development
29 Apr 2024 11:53

Mays Ibrahim (ABU DHABI)

The leading role of the UAE in advancing generative AI and furthering the region’s cultural development took centre stage, during the third International Congress of Arabic Publishing and Creative Industries (Congress PCI), an annual forum organised by the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Centre at the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT).

In a keynote discussion titled “Foresight for Growth: Cultural and Creative Industries as a Driver for Economy”, speakers explored the role of the cultural and creative sector in bolstering economic resilience and growth. They highlighted Abu Dhabi’s initiatives, including the establishment of cultural districts, support for local talent, and hosting global cultural events, as pivotal in transforming the emirate into a vibrant cultural hub.

The conversation underscored the importance of integrating established economic strategies with tailored cultural policies to foster sustainable development and economic diversification.

H.E. Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT) - Abu Dhabi, underscored the importance of education and continuous learning in shaping a forward-thinking society.

He highlighted the UAE’s significant investments in education, cultural institutions, and community centres, noting the role of cultural and creative industries (CCI) in societal development.

Al Mubarak further outlined the UAE’s ambitious economic goals, citing a targeted growth rate of 5 percent from 2024 onwards in the cultural and creative industries sector.

He emphasised the need for investment in Arabic content creation, stressing the importance of preserving and promoting the Arabic language, history, and traditions.

The congress also addressed the challenges and opportunities presented by AI in the cultural and creative sectors.

Al Mubarak acknowledged the potential of AI to enhance creativity and expand cultural exchange, while cautioning against the exclusion of Arabic language and culture in technological advancements.

Renowned economist Mohamed El-Erian noted that the UAE is spearheading efforts to ensure that advancements in the field of generative AI extend to the Arabic language and the Arab world. El-Erian views AI not as a replacement, but an enhancer, supplementing lower-value tasks and enabling their refinement and growth.

He also commended the UAE’s efforts in promoting Arab culture and the Arabic language, describing the country as a beacon of success in the Arab world.

He emphasised the importance of cultural exchange in fostering global understanding and underscored the UAE’s role in exporting its proud heritage to the world. In response to questions about sustaining progress and empowering young Arabs, El-Erian highlighted the importance of resilience, agility, and open-mindedness.

He encouraged young people to embrace diverse perspectives and adapt to a rapidly changing world, emphasising the value of critical thinking and creativity.

UAE Leads in AI Innovation The UAE continues to lead the way in AI innovation and cultural development, with a marked commitment to shaping a brighter future for the Arab world and beyond, according to Mazen Hayek, a Consultant, Media Advisor, and former MBC Group Official Spokesman.

Speaking with Aletihad on the sidelines of the Congress PCI, Hayek discussed the impact of generative AI on creative processes and future publishing.

He emphasised Abu Dhabi’s pivotal role in AI, innovation, and cultural preservation, citing the launch of Jais, an open-source AI model designed for the Arabic language, as a significant development.

This model, developed by Inception, MBZUAI, and Cerebras Systems, aims to empower over 400 million Arabic speakers with generative AI capabilities.

Hayek highlighted the importance of technological advancement as an enhancer of the creative process and advocated for the UAE’s active participation and technological sovereignty in shaping the digital landscape.

He urged investment in local platforms to reduce dependency on global providers and emphasised the need for regulatory discussions surrounding data ownership, privacy, and security in the Arab world.

The Congress PCI serves as a prominent platform for showcasing the latest trends in publishing and fostering cross-disciplinary conversations.

Since its inception in 2022, it has aimed to facilitate knowledge exchange among regional and global publishing and creative content developers in the Arab market.

The 2024 edition of the Congress provided opportunities for exploring collaborations between the public and private sectors at both regional and international levels.

It featured discussions led by experts, business leaders, pioneers in publishing, content creators, and creative talents across various domains.

Additionally, specialised workshops and masterclasses were conducted to enhance the professional skills of publishers, authors, content creators, and students from local and international universities in the UAE.

The Congress also hosted an exhibition showcasing new technologies and digital innovations in publishing and creative industries presented by leading global and regional brands.

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