Sharjah, Philippines boost ties in Artificial Intelligence - GulfToday

Sharjah, Philippines boost ties in Artificial Intelligence


Dignitaries attend the ‘AINNOVATE – The Philippine Experience in Artificial Intelligence’ event.

Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter

Sharjah Research and Technology Industrial Park (SRTIP) chief executive officer (CEO) Hussain Al Mahmoudi reiterated on Thursday the relevance of collaboration and partnerships that will eventually benefit all.

Al Mahmoudi particularly praised the decision of the Philippine Embassy (Abu Dhabi) for stepping up in advancing relationships with the UAE through the SRTIP free zone authority, situated within the University of Sharjah whose mission is to further improve the developing ecosystem of innovation; promote the interest of the next generation of scientists, researchers and essential workforce that results in more jobs in the future; catalyse knowledge economy; and augment sustainable economy by way of best practices from around the world.

“Collaboration is very important and the Philippine Embassy has played a critical role (for the realisation of this event). Governments help facilitate collaborations. I hope, out of this will be concrete collaborations with the (Philippines’) Department of Science and Technology (DoST). I hope that one of the collaborations would be in the area of marine life (valuable to both the Philippines and the UAE (considering the topography of each country),” he said.

Gulf Today interviewed Al Mahmoudi prior to the commencement of the AINNOVATE--The Philippine Experience in Artificial Intelligence" forum. In attendance were SRTIP officials, Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq)-Invest in Sharjah CEO Mohamed Juma Al Musharrakh, Shurooq-Invest in Sharjah managing director Marwan Saleh Alichla, Philippine Partnership Circle and Filipino Social Club founding members, and Filipino Community multi-sectoral representatives.

DoST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development executive director Dr./Engr. Enrico Paringit presented the landscape of AI initiatives and programmes including human resources development throughout the Southeast Asian archipelago. He highlighted DoST-sponsored AI start-ups. One of this is Cropital, incidentally a permanent exhibit at the UN Opportunity Hub in Expo2020 Dubai, and, which is the agricultural financing scheme that protects farmers from unscrupulous individuals.

Paringit pointed out that as everyone must be adept with AI, all must be enabled to catch up with the quick advancements of AI in all areas of life. He said that so far, DoST has liaised with 20 other governments for the bilateral strengthening of AI and technology.

University of the Philippines (Diliman Campus)-College of Engineering-Department of Computer Science-Computer Vision & Machine Intelligence Group Laboratory head Engr. Prospero Naval Jr. introduced the Fish-I semi-automated fish census system. Fish-I is among the DoST-sponsored start-ups. Naval, his colleagues and students had invented it to quicken the accurate identification, numbering and monitoring of over 3,000 fish species across the Philippines. Naval claimed there have only been “a few fish experts in the Philippines and around the world.”

The Thursday forum is a consequence of the “Innovate Sharjah” hosted by the SRTIP for the Diplomatic Communities in Abu Dhabi and Dubai and the Northern Emirates in Sept. 2021. Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn M. Quintana attended.

In her speech on Thursday, Quintana stressed the importance of the “Innovate Sharjah.” That despite the Novel Coronavirus are means by which opportunities could be had such as those offered by the Sharjah Government for all countries to move forward. She was thankful that DoST came on board.

Al Mahmoudi is looking forward to engagements that will arise from the one-day forum. He was happy to note that this was “timely” in connection with the February “UAE Innovation 2022” and the Expo2020 Dubai: “We are very excited. For us especially here in Sharjah, it is important that we cement our relationship with the technology and innovation ecosystem in the Philippines. The Philippines has a lot of talents and a lot of best practices in many areas that we could collaborate and learn together. We see these learnings in different levels. These are government-to-government, private sector-to-private sector, academia-to-academia (as well as) entrepreneurship-to-entrepreneurship.”

He was open to exchange programmes between Filipino and Emirati students and educators.

In Aug. 2021, the Philippine Embassy (Abu Dhabi) also played a major role in the establishment of partnerships and collaborations between the Philippine Space Agency and UAE Space Agency.

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