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Muscat Hosts Islamic World AI Charter Regional Workshop for Asia and Middle East

Oman

Muscat Hosts Islamic World AI Charter Regional Workshop for Asia and Middle East. Muscat, the Omani capital, is currently hosting the Islamic World AI Charter Regional Workshop (IWAIC) for the Asia and Middle East regions.

High-Level Participation and Opening Remarks

Organized by the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), the event partners with University of Technology and Applied Sciences (UTAS) and the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology of Oman.

The workshop kicked off on Tuesday, July 2, 2024, under the patronage of Dr. Khamis bin Saif Al Jabri, Chairman of the Oman Vision 2040 Implementation Follow-up Unit.

Focus on AI Ethics and Strategic Initiatives

The event has attracted high-level participation from officials, experts, and researchers from 23 countries, reflecting its significant importance.

The workshop is part of the activities of the ICESCO Chair for AI Ethics at UTAS in Oman and contributes to drafting the Islamic World AI Charter.

Welcoming Remarks and Vision for AI

The event opened with the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran, followed by welcoming remarks by Dr. Saeed bin Hamad Al-Rubaie, President of the University of Technology and Applied Sciences.

Dr. Al-Rubaie emphasized that UTAS and ICESCO are dedicated to AI ethics and usage, evident in their joint initiatives, particularly the ICESCO Chair for AI Ethics established this year at UTAS.

Global AI Market Growth and Importance

Dr. Salim M. AlMalik, ICESCO Director-General, began his speech with poetic verses in tribute to Oman and its people.

He highlighted that scholars of the Islamic world have historically been at the forefront of advancing humanity and technological progress.

AI Market Expansion and Economic Impact

Dr. AlMalik stated the global AI market is growing at an annual rate of 33% and is expected to drive global economic growth by 14% by 2030.

He added that the AI market is projected to expand by at least 120% year-on-year, and 77% of the devices we currently use incorporate AI.

Special Focus on AI Ethics

Dr. AlMalik stressed ICESCO’s comprehensive foresight strategy for AI, particularly in strategic governance and ethical dimensions.

This focus has led Member States to task ICESCO’s General Directorate with drafting the Islamic World AI Charter.

Gratitude and Collaborative Efforts

Dr. AlMalik concluded his address by thanking Oman, Dr. Al-Jabri, UTAS, the Ministry of Transport, Communications, and Information Technology, and the Omani National Commission for their efforts in organizing the workshop.

Strategic and Methodological Framework

Dr. Kais Hammami, Head of ICESCO’s Center for Foresight and Artificial Intelligence, reviewed the strategic and methodological framework for the IWAIC.

He emphasized the Charter as a milestone towards a prosperous and sustainable technological future for the Islamic world, aligning with its values.

Indicators for AI Implementation Readiness

Mr. Mohamed Hedi Shili, Head of ICESCO Department of Legal Affairs and International Standards, presented indicators used to measure countries’ readiness for artificial intelligence implementation, including “governance and ethics.”

Prospects and Ethical Considerations

Dr. Said Bin Salim Jaboob, Deputy Vice Chancellor of UTAS for Postgraduate Studies, Research, and Innovation, discussed AI development prospects, competition with humans, and the need for AI research regulation, especially regarding ethics.

Honoring Participants and Interactive Sessions

At the end of the opening session, workshop participants, including researchers and experts, were honored, and commemorative shields were exchanged.

The two-day workshop agenda features several interactive sessions, discussions, and presentations, creating working groups to exchange views on AI in Asia and the Middle East.

Discussion on Ethical Aspects

Participants will also discuss ethical aspects related to AI applications in the Islamic world, aiming to foster responsible technological advancement.

This workshop underscores the importance of AI ethics and collaborative efforts to shape a sustainable technological future in the Islamic world.

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