Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be loosely defined as "intelligence as exhibited by machines".

In the Middle East, some of the biggest opportunities for the use of Artificial Intelligence lie in the banking and financial sector, followed by government services and manufacturing, according to an IDC report. 

The findings noted that organizations are mainly using existing AI to help improve business efficiency as well as productivity of their employees, and further indicated that industries are turning to the new technology to enhance customer experience, for sales advisory and fraud detection.

Today’s biggest tech companies, such as Google and Amazon, are putting AI at the core of their businesses, and the UAE hopes to do the same for an entire nation.

Here are eight ways the UAE is leading the global AI revolution:

1. The UAE's Strategy for Artificial Intelligence

The UAE’s AI strategy covers the development and application in nine sectors: Transport, health, space, renewable energy, water, technology, education, environment, and traffic.

The strategy is the first of its kind in the world and it aims to make the UAE the first in the field of AI investments in various sectors. 

It also aims to create a new vital market with high economic value, use an integrated smart digital system that can overcome challenges and provide quick efficient solutions, and boost government performance at every level.

2. In the UAE, AI is at the forefront of the government's strategic plans

In October 2017, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, reshuffled the cabinet and announced new ministries.

At the time, he tweeted that the new structural change was followed by the Government’s recent annual meeting and launch of the UAE Centennial Plan 2071.

"Artificial Intelligence is the next major revolution of our times – our goal is to be one of the most advanced countries in this regard," Sheikh Mohammed posted last October.

3. The UAE has a Minister of Artificial Intelligence...

Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of AI
Source: UAE Cabinet

Also in October 2017, Dubai's Sheikh Mohammed tweeted that following a structural change, the new government appointment the (then) 27-year-old Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama as State Minister for Artificial Intelligence.

"We want the UAE to become the world’s most prepared country for artificial intelligence," Sheikh Mohammed said at the time.

Al Olama has previously been working as the Deputy Director of the Future Department, and he has been on the Executive Committee of the World Government Summit since 2014.

VIDEO: Meet the world's first Minister of State for AI

4. ...as well as a Ministry of AI who is in charge of implementing laws and legislation that govern AI

The main role of the newly-established Ministry of Artificial Intelligence is to invest in advanced technologies and AI tools that will be implemented in all fields of work and to enhance the government’s overall performance. 

It's 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 the new job landscape, and implementing laws and legislation that govern AI.

5. The UAE will train 500 Emirati men and women in the field of Artificial Intelligence

In January, the UAE government announced its plans to train 500 Emirati men and women in Artificial Intelligence. The students’ training will be part of an agreement signed between Oracle and the Higher Colleges of Technology to prepare young UAE nationals for the country’s future jobs.

Oracle was also discussing ways with the university to develop AI-related degrees."We're focusing on research and development in technology as well as providing the necessary support and training for local youth," said Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, State Minister for Artificial Intelligence, at the launch in Dubai.

According to an IMF report from last year, almost 65 percent of current primary school pupils will one day work in a job that does not yet exist. And last month, the US research company Gartner predicted that AI will generate 2.3 million in 2020 alone, outstripping the 1.8 million jobs it is expected to eliminate. 

While jobs such as driving vehicles are likely to go, managerial jobs, including processing the huge amounts of data being collected from people today, will need to be created.

6. By 2030, AI is expected to contribute almost 14 percent of the country's GDP

According to a new research conducted by PwC Middle East, the UAE will benefit most from the ongoing transformative technology revolution in the region.

The most significant relative gains are expected in the UAE where AI will most likely contribute almost 14 percent of GDP in 2030, which is equivalent to $96 billion (353 billion dirhams) as the global economy stands to claim a contribution of $15.7 trillion (57.8 trillion dirhams), the research found.

The annual growth in AI contribution will be 33.5 percent in the UAE during 2018-30.

7. Startups developing AI are finding a home in Dubai

Last year, 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 Artificial Intelligence and V2X technology. It claims to be able to predict and prevent car accidents before they actually take place.

The startup also signed an agreement with Dubai government agencies to try its technology and stated that "Dubai is at the forefront of adopting innovative technologies that focus on improving road safety and autonomous vehicle deployments".

8. The annual World Government Summit in Dubai

The World Government Summit (WGS) is a global platform dedicated to shaping the future of government worldwide. Each year, the summit sets the agenda for the next generation of governments with a focus on how they can harness innovation and technology to solve universal challenges facing humanity.

WGS is a knowledge exchange center at the intersection between government, futurism, technology, and innovation. This year's event was dominated by two themes: Happiness of citizens, and Artificial Intelligence.

Here is what experts had to say on the topic of AI during the World Government Summit 2018

"Innovation in Artificial Intelligence matters"

For the good of the majority of people, not just billionaires...


"Fruitful discussions with the world's leading experts on AI"

There were also autonomous pods at the WGS

The UK ambassador to the UAE comments on Dubai's ability to convene people from across the world

Roundtable discussion on the the best use of AI



"UAE residents may feel like living in sci-fi world by 2025"

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