UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence Discusses UAE Leadership and Citizen Wellbeing as Main Agenda in First Meeting March 26,2018
In the first meeting of the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence, the main topics of discussion focused on the UAE’s status as a trailblazer in artificial intelligence and the wellbeing of citizens—with additional subjects to include the Council’s objectives and role in implementing the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence.
Headed by Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, the meeting stressed the importance of adequately implementing the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, which seeks to propel the UAE to the fore of the global AI sector, whereby the UAE embraces the cutting-edge technology and uses it across strategic sectors. This, in turn, creates a promising new market in the region, supports the private sector in increasing its productivity, and generates sizeable economic revenues to improve quality of life in the UAE.
Meeting attendees include: Dr. Rawda Al Saadi, Director General of Abu Dhabi’s Smart Solutions and Services Authority (ADSSSA); HE Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office; Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Director General of the eGovernment Department in Sharjah; Ohood Shuhail, Executive Director of eGovernment in Ajman; HE Khalid Sultan Al Shamsi General Director of eGovernment Department in Umm Al Quwain; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Head of eGovernment Department in Fujairah; Eng. Ahmed Al Sayyah, General Director of eGovernment Authority in Ras Al Khaimah; HE Mohammed bin Tula'a, Assistant General Director of the Government services and Corporate Services Sector in the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future.
HE Omar Al Olama asserted that the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence’s first meeting had a full agenda, addressing a host of vital issues arising from the advent of artificial intelligence and its potential role as a strong foundation for excellence-driven future governments.
"Guided by the directives of its wise leadership, the UAE has embraced innovation and forged strategic international partnerships to present bold new scenarios where artificial intelligence plays a central role in building the future, he explained. "The UAE is highly prepared to handle this breakthrough technology, and incorporate it in a clear, forward-thinking and long-term strategy to upgrade all vital sectors, in line with the objectives of the UAE Centennial 2071 Plan."
At their first meeting, members of the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence discussed a number of strategic topics with a long-term future outlook, including the objectives and functions of the Council; the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, and its objectives and potential; and the competitive advantages and economic benefits of AI, among other topics.
The Council’s tasks were outlined to include the provided counsel on matters referred to it by the UAE Ministerial Cabinet and the proposal of policies to create an innovative atmosphere conducive to further advanced research in the sector. Talks covered the role of governmental and private sectors in accelerating the adoption of AI while also focusing on developing strategic partnerships with regional and international bodies working within the same field to exchange knowledge and expertise.
The Council is tasked with encouraging the exchange of knowledge and experience in the AI field; integrating artificial intelligence in education; spreading awareness and knowledge in the public sector; using AI to ensure the happiness of individuals; and proposing policies and strategies to build a generation of tech-savvy citizens with deep knowledge of AI. The Council stressed the importance of establishing support committees that enlist representatives from the public and private sectors, scientists, researchers and experts from the academic sector. Further, the council highlighted the need to carry out any other tasks or functions assigned to it by the Prime Minister or the Council of Ministers.
The Council examined a proposed four-criteria evaluation mechanism for artificial intelligence applications in the UAE. Bearing the name "UAI", the approach assesses AI applications based on their compliance with four key metrics: Ensuring the positive use of artificial intelligence; privacy of user data; data security and integrity; and efficient data sharing with the competent authorities.
The meeting also discussed the economic benefits that the UAE can expect from adopting artificial intelligence technology, which are expected to be significant. AI is poised to increase economic output by 26 per cent, and grow the economy by AED335 billion, driven by the savings made in terms of productivity and efficiency.
On another note, the council discussed the seven main objectives of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, namely: transforming the UAE into a leading global destination for AI-powered application and government services; supporting various sectors to embrace and develop artificial intelligence technology to ensure faster growth; attracting and training talent for future AI-centric jobs; attracting prominent international scientists to work within specific sectors; establishing the necessary data infrastructure to transform the UAE into a global AI laboratory; ensuring efficient governance; and setting sound policies and legislation for AI-based technologies and innovations.
The Council is tasked with implementing the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and flagging opportunities for development by conducting in-depth studies to identify the sectors most likely to benefit from incorporating artificial intelligence into their operations. The Council will also issue recommendations for developing a robust AI infrastructure to guarantee the happiness and wellbeing of UAE citizens. It strives to implement the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence to establish the UAE as a world leader in the AI sector by 2031, by forming committees and sub-councils to support its efforts.
Members of the Council have confirmed that the UAE has indeed accelerated towards the way of the future by following the guidance of the leadership to develop the tools necessary for AI to become an integral system throughout the nation’s governmental services. Members further confirmed that by targeting vital sectors throughout the UAE, AI is and will be used to enhance and improve the quality of life in line with UAE Vision 2021 and UAE Centennial 2071.
“I was pleased to participate in the first meeting of the UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence with my fellow council members under the chairmanship of His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad Al Sharqi, Head of eGovernment Department in Fujairah. “The ideas and suggestions garnered throughout the meeting will indeed support our national goal to achieve the vision of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and place our nation at the fore of global pioneers in the adoption of AI technology. The UAE has a great opportunity to adopt this emerging technology in its various sectors to improve government performance, increase economic returns and provide a decent life for citizens.”
“The UAE Ministerial Council’s adoption of the UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence reflects the vision of the nation’s government to develop business sectors and enhance service methods towards more advanced levels in line with the technological revolution,” said Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Sultan Al Qassimi, Director General of the eGovernment Department in Sharjah, Member of the Emirates Council of Intelligence. “Such technologies are accelerating our realities, and we can benefit from and employ AI to provide technical solutions for various sectors throughout our nation. These measures indeed fall in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and the directives to take advantage of the advanced technological features of our time. Artificial intelligence is the main agent that will propel various fields of knowledge and practices for governmental and private institutions alike. We are witnessing a digital renaissance with the rapid transformations of AI, and the solutions it provides for complex challenges will no doubt serve the interest of improving human life and providing only the highest levels of wellbeing for our citizens.”
Also during the meeting held in the capital city of Abu Dhabi, Dr. Rawda Saeed Al Saadi, Director General of Abu Dhabi’s Smart Solutions and Services Authority (ADSSSA), said: “The UAE continues to take the lead in the development of the technological infrastructure, based on the belief of its wise leadership that technology has become a cornerstone in the strategy of economic diversification in the country. We are working on the development of technological tools that will be an integral part of the governmental work system in the country; and towards enhancing the cooperation and exchange of data between the public and private sectors. Such measures serve to contribute to the rapid changes and improve government performance at every level by building a complete, intelligent digital system that addresses the challenges first-hand, and delivers practical and rapid solutions of quality and efficiency that will enhance Abu Dhabi's position as a center of technological innovation.”
“The use of AI in all fields of work should improve the performance of the governments alongside the development of smart systems and applications to meet the needs of clients,” she said. “AI should also be used to create creative work environments that accelerate the implementation of programs and the development of projects to achieve the future.”
Dr. Aisha bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office, said: “The first meeting of the UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence is a translation of the vision of leadership to adopt the technology of artificial intelligence to support the development of the UAE. Further, it stands to support the future quest of the UAE to become a leader in this sector by 2031 through achieving the objectives of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence launched within this framework.”
“Today, AI technologies already affect lives and enhance the quality of services provided to customers and patients. As such, the UAE Government has consistently endeavored to employ such techniques to build an integrated government work system that provides the best services to the public—thus saving both time and effort, and enhancing the level of happiness for our society,” she said. Further, she stressed that the first meeting of the UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence contributed to the exchange of ideas and visions, as well as reviews of the experiences of local government agencies in the field of using AI technology to serve mankind. She additionally stated that the meeting included discussions regarding the technologies of AI already implemented, the achievements, and the ways to optimize methods of investment to support the local economy and to further reap its benefits. “Such endeavors open up broad horizons for building strategic partnerships between Dubai Smart and various local and federal entities in the UAE; and supports additional dialogue regarding the challenges and what solutions should be addressed.”
Council Member Ohood Shuhail, Executive Director of eGovernment in Ajman, said: “The UAE has drawn a clear approach in the field of artificial intelligence. It was the first country to formulate its strategies, and to not only appoint its first minister in the world, but to also develop legislation and regulatory frameworks. It also embodied teamwork through the formation of the UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence, which includes prominent names capable of creativity, overcoming difficulties and achieving achievements.”
Asserting that the UAE has the necessary resources in place to establish itself as one of the leading countries in the application of AI, Shuhail said: “The UAE is a fertile ground for creativity with its strong presence of promising young cadres and global talents alongside a strong infrastructure of digital technology—cornerstones that support AI projects, their successes, and the transformation of the UAE from an importer of such technologies to an exporter.”
Shuhail applauded the efforts of the Council’s Chairman, His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, saying that the insight provided by His Excellency was a testament to the world that the UAE’s vision in AI is successful. She also valued the confidence of the leadership in choosing this mission, asking Almighty God to bless all of the council members in their path to improve the UAE and to increase prosperity.
Eng. Ahmed Al Sayyah, General Director of eGovernment Authority in Ras Al Khaimah, said: “We are proud to be a member of the UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence, and hope that we will meet the expectation of our wise leadership. As a result, our country has launched the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, in which we will work as one team under the leadership of His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama to implement the vision of the UAE to become the world's most advanced nation in utilizing the technology of artificial intelligence.”
Eng. Khalid Al Shamsi General Director of eGovernment Department in Umm Al Quwain, said: “I am pleased to be a member of the UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence and thank our wise leadership for this precious confidence. Artificial intelligence will play a major role in transforming the UAE into a global laboratory of artificial intelligence and will make it a global platform for promising technology that will better serve the people and their happiness.”
“We will work together to achieve the objectives of the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence and maintain data security and documentation to ensure proper use of artificial intelligence,” he said.
Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), said: “I am honored to be at the forefront of the vision of a prosperous future for our beloved country, a future based on artificial intelligence and the use of big data for the service, well-being and happiness of the human being in accordance with the directives of our wise leadership. In the path of smart and e-government, we hope that we will meet all expectations throughout the stages of artificial intelligence. We will do our best to contribute to the drive towards establishing sustainable development that invests in the human element, knowledge, data and innovation. It is a pleasure that this Council is led by the Minister of Artificial Intelligence, as he has great experience in the profession and work in this field.”
He added “We at the TRA are working to harmonize our future plans and strategies with the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, at the heart of which is artificial intelligence, bearing in mind the UAE's high goals and the need to develop a development framework for our country in the next 50 years.”
HE Mohammed bin Tula'a, Assistant General Director of the Government services and Corporate Services Sector in the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said “With the long-term vision of our wise leadership, the UAE has embarked on its journey towards the future and has moved to a new phase by launching the UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence—a strategy that will strengthen its efforts in the future industry and adopt its tools in line with the rapid technological changes taking place in the world, to serve man and society, and to ensure the quality of life.”
“The formation of the UAE Council of Artificial Intelligence,” he added, “is an additional step towards positively impacting the acceleration of properly applying this technology throughout the nation, which will indeed contribute towards the qualitative leap in the quality of services provided within the UAE.”