AI helping UAE in better planning its future: Omar Al Olama

ABU DHABI, The UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence discussed the UAE’s case on building its capabilities in space and coping with challenges as well as planning for a better future on the fifth panel of the Abu Dhabi Strategic Debate,ADSD, entitled “Emirati’s Policies in the New Age: The Capabilities of Artificial Intelligence and Space Industry”.

Speaking at the 6th ADSD on Sunday, Omar Sultan Al Olama said the UAE’s leadership and that of other countries believe Artificial Intelligence,AI, is a very important sector, in which the Emirates had to invest and train.

“We should not wait until other countries pioneer in the field,” he said. “We should dominate such technology and export it to the world.”

He mentioned studies that have shown the true potential of space and its resources, adding that “we have to create technologies in order to reach them” and that the UAE believes in the investment in numerous resources and to plan for the future. “The UAE is a small country compared to others, but it is among the pioneers in such a field,” Al Olama said.

“It believes it is better to build something today that will generate higher income in the future. Nowadays, we cannot live without AI, it exists today and affects daily activities and it is a technology that changed our lives to its modern way.”

When speaking about how AI can serve peace instead of war, Al Olama said that the first problem faced by all world countries is the lack of tolerance and understanding of other cultures. But AI, through its intelligent platform, can create bridges of understanding among countries. “So there are a lot of AI opportunities to use such a platform to increase the level of tolerance,” he explained. “But we have to use it in a way that serves everyone. We have to help in capacity-building and legislation because a single country using AI negatively could affect another.”

He mentioned the importance of developing global policies and legislation as was done for nuclear weapons. “We have been talking about the future economy since 2015 and everything refers to AI as a common denominator,” he added. “So we worked on strategies for AI and establishing the infrastructure.”

The UAE recently launched the first AI university to attract talent, as well as working on training in an AI camp to educate students from a young age. “Creating talent is important,” Al Olama said. “Talent allows countries to pioneer. But we should have preventive legislation to implement best practices and allow solutions to challenges, some of which are to cover the gap of knowledge in AI and to have a consultant to every decision-making related to AI.”

Another example he used is the promotion and extension of such technologies. “We have to, as a society, see this technology as one used to create economic, social and best practices opportunities,” he added.

In terms of data being the new oil, he explained that data requires volume, velocity and variety. “The UAE is best suited in the AI future to be a leader in AI because we have a dataset that is not like any other,” he noted. “Globally, datasets need to be diverse, China’s dataset cannot be used in Africa, for instance. But in the UAE, we have 200 nationalities, so our data is a lot more valuable than in any other country.”

He concluded that there is massive potential and skills in the Middle East, although there are many elements to learn from many different countries. “We focus on trying to share our knowledge but also get knowledge in terms of research and policies and create a research bridge,” he said. “One lesson learnt I found is that everyone has many questions and there are very few countries that have answers.”

Source: Emirates News Agency