From autonomous cars and precision medicine, to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence (AI), technology is advancing at such a fast rate that people barely wrap their heads around one invention before a new one comes along. 

We're currently experiencing the fourth industrial revolution, as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, first said in 2016.

According to a report by Dubai FDI - titled "Artificial Intelligence: Investment Opportunity Brief" - the invention of AI led to people no longer operating alone to make a cohesive working environment. In today's world, AI is seen as a "game-changer for business," and this has been witnessed in many countries around the globe - and in the Arab world, too.

A recently published report by AI consultancy firm Oxford Insights in collaboration with the International Development Research Center (IDRC) found that "The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have all shown strong commitment to developing their AI capabilities. They have been investing heavily in new technology." 

The report indicates how important it is for Arab economies to focus on attracting and retaining foreign talent and companies, as well as being aware of how the volatility of oil prices could affect investment. 

To truly make an impact, governments need to do more than invest in AI adoption. They need to prepare the public for the full integration of AI systems, as well as giving them the tools necessary to "take advantage" of them without hindering any progress.

The latter point is exactly what countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia are focusing on so that they remain the leading nations in the region - and later on the world.

AI's significance can be mirrored in a 2018 study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) - a leading professional services network - as figures associated with AI's contributions to the world economy in 2030 are estimated to reach $15.7 trillion.

Expected AI contributions and GDP in the Middle East for the year 2030 Source: PwC

If Arab countries continue down the path of full AI integration, they are expected to generate $320 billion (an estimate of 2 percent) of the global benefits of AI by 2030. 

As a country that's appointed a minister for AI with a full plan that covers all aspects of artificial intelligence and its integration in healthcare and aviation to name a few sectors, the UAE is expected to have the highest impact in 2030. PwC predicts AI will contribute $96 billion (13.6 percent of GDP) to the UAE's economy in 2030.

The second highest impact country - but the one with the largest AI contribution - is Saudi Arabia, with $135.2 billion (12.4 percent GDP). The third highest would be - what PwC has grouped together and coined as GCC4 - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, providing $45.9 billion (8.2 percent GDP.) And finally, Egypt, with $42.7 billion (7.7 percent GDP.)

From PwC's findings, it was also predicted that "The impact could be even larger if governments continue to push the boundaries of innovation and implementation of AI across businesses and sectors."