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w w w . s a u d i g a z e t t e . c o m . s a

VOL: 478 — ISSUE NO: 14899 — THURSDAY 16 AUGUST 2018, 5 DHUL HIJJAH — 1439

EDITION

WEEKEND

Charting the future:

New Indonesia-Saudi strategic

partnership after King Salman Visit

Indonesia Independence day supplement P6-7

Saudi

authorities

at the Grand

Mosque in

Makkah

welcome

pilgrims with

high quality

natural ittar

(perfume)

and bukhoor

(agarwood)

incense.

Director

responsible

for receiving

visitors in the

Grand Mosque

Muhammad

Al-Batty said

pilgrims are

greeted with

incense at the

entrance to the

mosque and in

the corridors.

— SPA

Robot communicates

in Saudi dialect

By Layan Damanhouri

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH —

A Saudi researcher has

developed a robot that understands

local dialect, becoming the first in the

world to communicate in Arabic.

Dr. Faisal Alsarheed, Assistant

Professor in Artificial Intelligence and

Robotics at Saudi Electronic Univer-

sity, researched the project and devel-

oped the robot within two years after

receiving funding from the university.

He is now completing his research

paper.

The robot, named Mosalem, is

a prototype and is being trained to

build a bank of 100,000 conversations

through deep learning technology.

It does not rely on translation,

however.

“After a year of researching, I

realized translation is a dead end,”

Dr. Alsarheed told Saudi Gazette.

“People speak in Saudi dialect, not

classical Arabic. So it’s important that

the machine understands everyday

conversations. The robot is, therefore,

being trained to understand local dia-

lect and find appropriate responses.”

It’s programmed to decline to re-

spond if it’s not confident enough to

answer a question. However, it con-

sults with Dr. Alsarheed later on to

learn how to answer tricky questions.

Dr. Alsarheed worked in col-

laboration with Namthaja, a local 3-D

company run by Saudi engineers to

design the robot.

After receiving further funding

from the university, he plans to work

on a second edition of the robot to

develop its body parts and movement

abilities.

Mosalem was recently hired by

Al Majd channel and signed its first

employment contract. Drafting the

employment contract and including

new stipulations such as holding its

developer accountable for its com-

munication was an interesting expe-

rience, according to Dr. Alsarheed.

“Mosalem was hired and treated like

any individual offered a job and the

funny thing was that he was offered

a salary that’s higher than university

professors,” he said.

Robots are not a threat to humans,

he believes, since organizations will

be able to increase their productivity

The robot has been named Mosalem because it means peace.

US to act

against

Iranian ship

facilitating terror

strikes in

Red Sea

Washington —

The Trump administration is

planning to take action against Iranian ship

“Saviz” identified as the “mother ship” sta-

tioned in the Red Sea providing targeting in-

formation for Houthi anti-ship attacks, which

have increased in recent months, including a

late July attack by Iranian-backed rebels on a

Saudi oil tanker.

Washington Free Beacon website quoted

US officials and military experts familiar with

the situation as saying that “Saviz” is believed

to be masked as a cargo vessel but has been

providing significant military and logistic aid

to Yemen’s Houthi militias.

The ship was delisted from US sanctions

by the Obama administration as part of its

efforts to uphold the landmark nuclear deal

with Iran, US officials confirmed to the Wash-

ington Free Beacon.

Upcoming Trump administration action

against the Saviz and other Iranian vessels

is part of a broader package of sanctions ex-

pected to start on Nov. 5, officials confirmed.

Sanctions will target Iran’s port opera-

tions, shipping and shipbuilding sectors, and

other affiliates.

The Iranian ship “Saviz” has been an-

chored for more than a year in the Red Sea

near the Straits of Bab Al-Mandeb in interna-

tional waters, according to satellite photos.

According to Iranian news outlets, many

of the weapons handed over by the Iranian

regime to the Houthi militias were carried by

speedboats from the same vessel. The boats

were equipped with 23 mm ZU guns.

Saviz itself is equipped with a radar rarely

seen on cargo ships, but used to steer the

Houthi militias’ boats when attacking Saudi

oil tankers.

US officials familiar with the Saviz’s ac-

tions in the Red Sea told the Free Beacon the

Iranian vessel is barely attempting to obfus-

cate its military role in aiding Houthi rebels

in Yemen.

“The Iranians aren’t even trying to dis-

guise the military use of the ship,” said one US

official. “You don’t need classified intelligence

or satellite photos of the decks to know that

merchant ships simply don’t act this way.”

US officials familiar with the movements

of the ship “Saviz” in the Red Sea, told Wash-

ington Free Beacon, “It is certain that the

Iranian ship provides logistical support for the

Houthis in Yemen.”

US defense experts with the Washington

Institute for Near East Policy, or WINEP, also

have cited the Saviz as providing potential

support and logistics to Houthi rebels as they

commit acts of terrorism in the region.

Agencies

Speedboats equipped with guns on board the

ship “Saviz”.

Washington Free Beacon

website quoted US officials and

military experts familiar with the

situation as saying that “Saviz”

is believed to be masked as

a cargo vessel but has been

providing significant military and

logistic aid to Yemen’s Houthi

militias.

s

s

Saudi innovator develops a prototype which is being

trained to build a bank of 100,000 conversations

After a year of

researching, I realized

translation is a dead

end. People speak

in Saudi dialect, not

classical Arabic. So

it’s important that the

machine understands

everyday conversations.

The robot is, therefore,

being trained to

understand local dialect

and find appropriate

responses.

Dr. Faisal Alsarheed

Assistant Professor in

Artificial Intelligence

and Robotics at Saudi

Electronic University

with robots that will in turn bring in

more profits.

In the future, robots like Mosalem

are being designed to replace teachers

in the classroom, receptionists, and

salespersons.

“I chose the name Mosalem be-

cause it means peaceful. Robots are

sometimes perceived as threatening,

such as taking over humans’ jobs.

However, I oppose this theory,” said

Dr. Alsarheed.

“In the future, I believe a teacher

will become a teaching engineer.

Machines can replace any job except

those that entail emotions and feel-

ings. They can do any rational job

such as accounting for example. Jobs

for humans will be developed rather

than replaced.”

“Just like scientists learned how

to build airplanes after studying birds,

AI scientists learn from human intel-

ligence how to develop something

stronger and more advanced”, he fur-

ther said. “We will see how machines

will become smarter than humans.

Asked about the dangers and risks

of AI, he acknowledged them and said

we should be able to control them.

He said the Kingdom’s plans to

diversify the economy and launch-

ing megaprojects such as NEOM led

him to work on the project. “NEOM

is a dream come true for anyone

specialized in artificial intelligence.

We’re currently working on building

our skills to deliver the potential that

NEOM promises.”

Fragrance of hospitality