Meet Sara: Saudi Arabia’s first performing robot who can speak in local dialect

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Meet Sara; Saudi Arabia’s first robot who can communicate in the local dialect, perform popular dances, and respond to enquiries.

Sara has been welcoming visitors to the Kingdom’s Digital Pavilion at the LEAP23 conference in Riyadh, state news agency SPA reported Tuesday.

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A built-in camera uses artificial intelligence to recognize when people standing in front of the robot. It will start a conversation when a visitor welcomes it with the phrase “Hello Sara”.

Sara contains a pre-trained model that recognizes different dialects from within the Kingdom, analyses sentences and understands their content, then provides the appropriate answer and sends it in the form of text.

Sara is one of the features at this year’s LEAP; the second edition of a major technology conference that has opened in Riyadh, with representatives from companies including Snap, Aramco, and Zoom due to hold exhibitions.

The LEAP conference kicked off with an announcement from cloud computing service Oracle pledging a $1.5 billion investment into Saudi Arabia.

Last year’s event racked up $6.4 billion worth of investments into technology in the Kingdom, which is striving to modernize its economy.

LEAP is being held at the Riyadh Front Expo Center from Monday February 6 to Thursday February 9.

It will feature more than 720 speakers from 50 countries. Other exhibitors include Google, NEOM, Mastercard, Ericsson, and John Lee, chief executive of the Hong Kong special administrative region.

In total, more than 100,000 people are expected to attend LEAP, which was organized by the Kingdom’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) in conjunction with Tahaluf – a strategic joint venture co-owned by Informa PLC and the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security and Programming (SAFCSP).

There will also be celebrity guests who are active in the technology industry, including rapper Will.i.am and footballer Charles Puyol.

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