UAE government aims to empower citizens with AI skills: Omar Al Olama

ABU DHABI, 16th April, 2018 (WAM) — Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, AI, has said that the UAE government and leadership are foreseeing new developments while noting that their main aim is to empower citizens and government employees with artificial intelligence skills.

In an interview published today by Akaz on the UAE’s future and his Ministry’s efforts to achieve transformation for the AI era, Al Olama said that the UAE has advanced in its use of AI from an early stage, through a decision taken 12 years ago to create a better future for the coming generations. The Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, directed the transformation from a traditional government to an electronic one, and then to a digital government, until it becomes a smart government, which is now being witnessing in light of the adoption of AI applications to improve government performance, he added.

Al Olama went on to say that their objectives also include making the general public and government employees understand the importance of AI technology and how to use it and take advantage of its positive aspects while avoiding its negative effects.

He noted that training programmes will be organised for school and university students and government employees, which change the way of thinking in the UAE in terms of AI while several related studies will be conducted to benefit from the technology.

Al Olama highlighted the launch of the “UAI” slogan, which is the mark of the quality of institutions working in AI that will be used to develop and improve their use of the technology while noting that it was adopted to achieve the UAE’s vision to become an advanced country in this area by 2031.

Regarding harmonising the education system and higher education to comply with this directive, Al Olama said that studies show that 74 percent of traditional jobs might disappear because of AI while highlighting the importance for academic institutions in the UAE and around the world to keep pace with these developments.

He further said that 10 million new jobs will soon be added around the world because of AI, which requires the country’s readiness for this development while further adding that the UAE’s AI strategy is based on attracting talent, research and development, making the UAE a leading country in utilising AI in government and private sectors by 2031, and making it an open laboratory for AI and its various applications, as well as making the national transport sector self-driven by 2025, using AI to build houses using 3D printing technology, and adopting AI in logistics, health, education, space, renewable energy, water and other technologies.

The UAE government has formed international strategic commissions that include leading AI specialists and scientists working with scientific and research institutions in the country, and it will declare the details of its AI strategy in the coming weeks, Al Olama concluded.

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