The UAE has worked hard to earn its title as an advanced and futuristic nation. This can especially be seen in the effort it's been putting into artificial intelligence (AI) in recent years. Two years ago, the Emirati nation ranked first in the Arab world when it comes to adopting AI in all aspects of life. After all, the country has a full-fledged AI strategy, an AI ministry, and a university entirely dedicated to the field. In the past few years, its officials have been focused on introducing AI technologies to the country, and it's been working well in its favor.
The world's first dedicated artificial intelligence university is located in the UAE and has just received licensing and accreditation from the UAE academic authority.
The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), located in Abu Dhabi, will begin offering its first class in August. The university offers graduate-level students a range of postgraduate degrees focusing on key components of the AI sector. These include Computer Vision, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing.
"We aim to provide students with world-class courses in an environment that exceeds expectations in order to attract the best talent from across the globe," said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the board of trustees at MBZUAI.
The Commission for Academic Accreditation (CAA) is part of the UAE's Ministry of Education and is responsible for the licensure of institutions of higher education and accreditation of each of their academic programs.
Graduate students can either apply for the Master's of Science or PhD-level program at the university; the application is still open for interested candidates.
According to The National, the MBZUAI has received 1,200 applications so far. All admitted students will be offered a full scholarship and given a monthly allowance, health insurance, and accommodation.
Research is a core component of the MBZUAI operating model. "As a standalone university with a research arm, MBZUAI foster establishing a number of research partnerships with the most prestigious universities in the world in the field of AI," as stated on the university's site.
MBZUAI will not only give students the chance to learn - free of charge - but will also help secure internships for its students with local and global companies. The university will assist students in seeking employment opportunities as well.
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.
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 aims at making the UAE the first in the field of AI investments in various sectors. It aims at creating a new vital market with high economic value, using an integrated smart digital system that can overcome challenges by providing quick efficient solutions, and boosting government performance at every level. And with the establishment of a specialized AI university, it looks like the UAE will be ten steps ahead of everyone else in the game very soon.