In recent years, the UAE has become synonymous with advancement and futuristic development. So it comes as no surprise to see the country leading the way with artificial intelligence (AI), which is set to play a central role in the country's Centennial 2071 project.
The Emirati nation is ranked as the first in the Arab world when it comes to adopting AI in all aspects of life. In the past few years, its officials have been focused on introducing AI technologies to the country.
Here's how they've been succeeding at just that:
1. The country has a fully-fledged AI strategy
The plan is comprised of eight objectives, "including reaffirming the UAE's position as a global artificial intelligence (AI) hub, employing AI in customer services and recruiting and training people to work in fields which will be driven by the technology for years to come."
This strategy is the first of its kind in the world and covers the development and application of advanced technologies in nine sectors including transport, health, space, renewable energy, water, technology, education, environment, and traffic.
The plan also aims to boost government performance in every aspect and taking the country to a new level regarding economy and business.
2. They have a Ministry of AI
Established in 2017, the country's Ministry of Artificial Intelligence's main aim is to invest in advanced technologies and AI tools that will be implemented in all fields of work, and enhance the government's overall performance.
Governed by Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, the government body is also tasked with working with the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research to include AI as part of the national curriculum, preparing and training people for jobs of the future.
In addition to the above, the ministry implements laws and legislation that govern AI. In a recently made statement, Al Olama said the UAE is focused on becoming a global hub for artificial intelligence and stressed that the country has all it takes to push its AI strategy forward.
3. The UAE recently launched an AI campaign
Earlier this year, the country's AI Minister announced a "Think AI" initiative.
The campaign aims at accelerating "the adoption of artificial intelligence and its uses in various key strategic sectors" in the UAE. Under it, the country hosted a series of roundtables, workshops, and panel discussions with the participation of field experts from across the world.
4. The UAE is incorporating AI into healthcare and education
The country is working on incorporating AI technologies and techniques in both its healthcare and education sectors.
In recent months, the UAE partnered with local technology companies like Alef Education to test new ways of effectively educating future generations. Established four years ago, Alef Education has already integrated its digital education platforms into several schools located in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
When it comes to healthcare, the Gulf country is moving towards revolutionizing the sector via AI. In Dubai, the Health Authority has already outlined a strategy that uses AI and robotics to largely automate surgeries and other procedures.
5. It's also integrating AI in aviation and transport industries
The UAE is taking serious steps to transform its aviation and public transport sectors using AI techniques. The country's flagship carrier, Emirates, is currently working on developing an AI-powered assistant that will support airline customers from pre-flight to post-flight.
In 2018, the UAE's aviation authority signed an agreement set to explore the use of AI in the country's air traffic management.
In that same year, officials at Dubai airport announced plans to launch robots able to detect faces of wanted criminals, as well as report any suspicious person or activity.
UAE officials also aim to automate a quarter of the country's transport systems by 2030. So people in the Emirates could be flying in air taxis in the next few years.
6. The UAE supports AI startups
Startups working on developing AI technologies and projects find a positive environment for growth across the UAE.
In 2018, Dubai-based startup Derq raised $1.5 million (5.5 million dirhams) in seed funding after graduating from TechStars Mobility Accelerator, all with the aim of making cars smarter and roads safer. Derq's mission is to eliminate road accidents and save lives by using AI and V2X technology.
7. It aims at relying on AI for its economy in the future
According to research conducted by PwC Middle East, the UAE will hugely benefit from the global technology revolution because it has highly invested in AI.
The field is set to contribute the most amount of money to the country and is estimated to contribute almost 14 percent of the national GDP in 2030, which is equivalent to $96 billion (353 billion dirhams.)
The annual growth in AI contribution will be 33.5 percent in the UAE between 2018 and 2030.