Sunday May 01, 2022

UAE leads from the front with AI

UAE leads from the front with AI

Picture used for illustrative purposes only.

Where technology is concerned, the UAE has pulled out all stops. And that includes artificial intelligence. The statement by the world’s first minister for artificial intelligence that the United Arab Emirates seeks to become a leading nation in the sector is very apt and thought-provoking.

The UAE’s Minister of State for AI, Omar Bin Sultan al-Olama, said “quality of life” considerations were key, and also emphasised the importance of a “responsible” rollout – with impacts potentially reverberating for decades. The UAE also calls AI “machine intelligence”, defining it as a branch of technology enabling systems to “think, learn, and make decisions like humans”, which can support everything from virology to transport.

That the UAE is serious about artificial intelligence is manifest in the fact that the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has launched a ground-breaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) and coding licence in cooperation with the UAE Artificial Intelligence Office.

The licence, which is a UAE first, will advance the country’s Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031, which aims to enhance the UAE’s reputation in this field by attracting AI companies and coders from around the world.

The licence provides an opportunity to obtain the UAE Golden Visas for employees working in those companies. According to consultancy firm PwC Middle East, nearly 14 per cent ($96 billion) of the UAE’s gross domestic product will come from AI by 2030. While many nations are just starting to mull using smart technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), the UAE has been fortunate, thanks to the visionary leadership, to have already made rapid strides and lead the digitisation race in the region. To anticipate the future and keep pace with new technologies is a trait that has made the UAE a hotspot destination.  The National Artificial Intelligence Strategy 2031 aims at positioning the UAE as a global leader in artificial intelligence by 2031 and develop an integrated system that employs artificial intelligence in vital areas in the UAE.

Interestingly, the strategy has listed eight objectives which include: reaffirming UAE’s position as a global hub for artificial intelligence, increasing the competitive edge of the AI sector in the UAE, establishing an incubator for AI innovations, employing AI in the field of customer services to improve the quality of life, attracting and training talents for jobs of the future, attracting leading research capabilities, providing a data-driven infrastructure to support AI experiments, and optimising AI governance and regulations. The UAE Strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution focuses on a number of key fields, including innovative education, which will provide a smart and enhanced learning experience capable of providing the necessary expertise to develop advanced technologies such as science, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence. The strategy will also focus on robotic healthcare and adopt research in nanotechnology to facilitate the application of telemedicine and advance the overall healthcare services in the UAE. It will introduce cutting-edge medical solutions such as wearable and implantable technologies.

The strategy seeks to position the UAE as a model for interactive cities using artificial intelligence to achieve sustainability.

The Centre for Fourth Industrial Revolution in the UAE is the fifth of its kind in the world after the United States of America, Japan, India and China. It has been set up as part of a strategic partnership between the UAE government and the World Economic Forum. The Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) seeks to empower a new generation of AI leaders through exceptional education and a unique model of academia. All this goes to show that the UAE is one of the most prepared countries in the region to adopt AI technology because the government has already built a thorough technology infrastructure over two decades.

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