Saudi technology experts are bringing futuristic AI technologies closer to reality

Saudi technology experts are bringing futuristic AI technologies closer to reality

RIYADH: Saudi technology experts are bringing the latest advances in artificial intelligence to gamers at a major international festival in the Kingdom.

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) has partnered with the Saudi Arabian Esports Federation for the Gamers8 event in Riyadh to showcase the latest advances in augmented and virtual reality technology.

And Ahmed Abdulrahman, head of Ithra’s inclusive creative solutions program lab, believes the futuristic AI seen in many of today’s sci-fi movies could become publicly available within five to 10 years.


The interior of the GameDev Zone, buzzing with eager and curious Saudis eager to test the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology in Riyadh. (Provided)

Technologies showcased at the festival focus not only on gaming, but also on interactive and immersive experiences, entertainment and learning.

Abdulrahman emphasized that in 2018 The VR gadgets seen in Steven Spielberg’s adventure film Ready Player One are now readily available. Ithra even had a haptic Teslasuit and gloves (technology that can create a tactile experience by applying forces, vibrations and movements to the user) for members of the public to try out.

FASTTHE FACTS

• One of Ithra’s winning projects, Waiting for Rain, allows people to feel the rain while wearing a VR headset.

• Ithra even had a sensitive Teslasuit and gloves (technology that can create a tactile experience by applying forces, vibrations and movements to the user) for members of the public to try out.

“We can bring people into games that use all the technology together, where they can walk around and feel every stroke of the game.” It’s total immersion. It’s not 2045, it’s 2022,” he told Arab News.


The interior of the GameDev Zone, buzzing with eager and curious Saudis eager to test the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology in Riyadh. (Provided)

In Riyadh Boulevard City, where Gamers8 is in full swing, Creative Solutions’ GameDev Zone features game prototypes created in 72 hours or less, as well as five previous winning designs from the program’s teams, as well as internationally developed video games.

Although the available VR features are not fully equipped, they still allow visitors to get a general idea of ​​immersive stories.

One of Ithra’s winning projects, Waiting for the Rain, lets people feel the rain while wearing a VR headset. Its creator, Naima Karim, tells how she was paralyzed in her youth, but discovered her love for painting through the influence of the rain. “There were so many people who were moved by it, they just took off their headphones to cry,” Abdulrahman said.

Other AR projects take users on a journey through the history of the universe or on a mission to find hidden objects, similar to the Pokemon GO mobile game.


The main entrance to the GameDev Zone of Ithra’s creative solutions in collaboration with the world’s largest esports festival Gamers8, Riyadh Boulevard City. (Provided)

Alongside the five winner’s booths in the zone is a selection of internationally developed gaming programs, including The Climb 2, Loco Dojo, Beat Saber and a PS5 gaming room.

Filipe Gomez, curator of the Creative Solutions program, told Arab News: “There are creators who are showing a future without screens. Everything will be planned.”

Amr Bogari, a conceptual artist and AI enthusiast, said: “This reflects a good mental image over time and is expected from our government as it is a great supporter of this development and progress of mankind.

“But in general, it depends on the person’s use. The abundance of technology can diminish the spiritual aspect, and this is true in many examples. Our role is to create a moderate space that balances reality and assumptions.

In the GameDev area, Gomez said, “The level of public engagement has been incredible. To me, it really reflects a desire to learn, improve and prepare. Creativity is there.”

The Ithra app team strives to create unique experiences that people of all backgrounds can enjoy.

Abdulrahman said: “They are all proud. That’s the only word I can say. Everyone who tries them, when they see them, is simply amazed at the quality of work, even though we call them prototypes.

And the aim of the program was to establish Saudi Arabia as a major inclusive hub in the region and possibly the world.

“It’s up to us and stakeholders like Ithra who are pushing a specific agenda who really care about how this transformation will affect people so that they are prepared to be good decision makers.” When it comes to creative solutions, they create humanistic solutions,” Gomez added.

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