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AI Retreat: Minister of State for AI Forecasts AI will shape Dubai’s next 185 years of development, starting today

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Dubai is well on track to becoming a preferred global AI hub thanks to the concerted efforts of the government in partnership with the private sector in rolling out a slew of initiatives towards integrating the deep technology into government work and the social fabric, making the city an indispensable partner of choice for AI developers, startups, and companies from around the world, HE Omar Sultan AlOlama,  Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, told a first-of-its-kind AI Retreat today.

The Minister welcomed more than 2,500 distinguishedUAE leaders and AI experts, policymakers, government officials and industry stakeholders to the iconic Museum of the Future and AREA 2071, which jointly hosted the largest such gathering in the world. Participants engaged in conversations on AI legislation and policy, and on the ethical use of AI, as well as on the best ways of convening AI communities and talent. They also shared insights on facilitating the implementation of AI applications as tangible solutions to local and global challenges.

Emphasizing the importance of continually adapting with this dynamic technology, he urged everyone to utilize the available tools effectively to stay competitive and avoid falling behind in the global AI race.

“AlOlama stated that the UAE’s visionary leadership, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and the visions of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, seeks to develop a leading, proactive, and future-oriented model for Dubai and lead the AI conversation through the establishment of this platform and his recent announcement of 22 Chief AI officers in government departments across Dubai. AlOlama noted that each officer had been appointed after careful assessment of their skills to advance Dubai’s AI vision. Another initiative is the training of one million proficient engineers. This effort is not merely because these skills will remain relevant in ten years, but because individuals possessing them can elevate their nation’s power today.”

His Excellency highlighted the leadership’s belief in the importance of talent in building the future has resulted in the UAE ranking third globally in attracting AI talent relative to its population size, after Luxembourg and Switzerland, and first regionally – up from the 11th place in 2021, according to a report by LinkedIn in collaboration with Stanford University. The UAE also ranked 15th globally for its AI skills, up from the 20th place last year.

“AI is not a future vision; it is our reality now. In Dubai, we operate differently. Our long-term vision for our physical infrastructure was first implemented in 1958, and it took essentially 185 years until 2023 for Dubai’s infrastructure to be considered among the best in the world. Similarly, with AI, we are looking at implementing our AI vision for the next 185 years, starting today,” HE AlOlama said, urging the private sector to start their journey from Dubai to invest in AI and enhance their talents for its enabling legislation, as much as because AI is integral to DUB-AI!

The inaugural AI Retreat in Dubai was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation and was attended by more than 1,000 decision-makers, experts and officials from the government and private sectors and tech companies. Participants discussed key AI challenges, including policies and legislation, governance, talent ecosystem, digital infrastructure, and AI data centers, while also exploring key AI enablers, such as finance and research. The AI Retreat served as a platform for direct and open communication and sharing of critical insights, creative ideas, innovative projects, best practices, and opportunities for partnerships between the government and private sector in boosting AI applications.