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Dubai’s Top Business, Government Executives Commit to Driving City’s AI Roadmap at AI Retreat

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Industry leaders, government decision-makers, and global tech giants emphasised the significance of hosting the upcoming AI Retreat at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071, Emirates Towers in Dubai on 11 June 2024. This event fosters partnerships that accelerate AI adoption across all sectors for the betterment of humanity and societies.

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 Dubai Future Foundation, the AI Retreat 2024 will convene more than 1,000 AI experts, policymakers, and industry leaders to discuss the various challenges and opportunities presented by AI locally and globally and contribute to laying the foundational strategies for harnessing AI applications.

The gathering involves panel discussions and high-profile roundtables at the Museum of the Future and various workshops and activations at AREA 2071 at the Emirates Towers, Dubai.

The AI Retreat, organised by the Dubai Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DCAI) in collaboration with the National Program for Artificial Intelligence, is the first event planned under the framework of the annual Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence that aims to expedite the adoption of AI applications, solidifying Dubai’s status as a preferred destination for technology, innovation and AI companies.

His Excellency Mattar Al Tayer, Commissioner General for Infrastructure, Urban Planning and Well-Being Pillar – Director General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority – Dubai, confirmed that the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has long anticipated global trends in AI and digital transformation. The AI Retreat, under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, bolsters the Dubai Government’s efforts to harness AI to improve the quality of life of its society, enhance sustainability, and increase service efficiency, aligning with the goals of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33.

His Excellency noted that the RTA hosts one of the largest big data platforms in the country, in terms of storage capacity, which has been integrated with Dubai Government’s institutional AI platform. This integration leverages historical data to develop applications that address the RTA’s strategic and operational needs, such as traffic data analysis and pattern and prediction identification, ultimately aiding in more efficient road network planning and enhancing the user experience across various services offered by the RTA.

Al Tayer said that he is confident that the AI Retreat will lead to initiatives for integrating AI technologies across all systems in public and private sectors, increasing reliance on data and AI in decision-making processes, and predicting future needs.

His Excellency Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), said: “I am highly confident about the outcomes of this ‘AI Retreat.’ This event aligns with the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the most advanced and future-ready city. Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the retreat will showcase futuristic visions, creative ideas, and innovative projects. These initiatives will accelerate the adoption of AI applications, transforming Dubai into a global hub for AI governance and legislation. Our goal is to attract innovators, creative minds, and leading technology companies from around the world.”

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), stated: “Dubai’s D33 economic strategy emphasises the importance of the digital economy and AI adoption. Guided by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and the strategic direction of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, we are dedicated to making Dubai a global leader in AI implementation. Our city boasts a world-class AI ecosystem, supported by exceptional infrastructure and forward-thinking policies. Our strategy focuses on deploying new technologies and fostering AI company clusters that integrate with both digital and traditional economic sectors. This will accelerate learning, innovation, and governance, creating an ideal environment for global businesses and talent. By leading in AI governance and legislation, Dubai aims to provide unparalleled access to advanced AI applications, reinforcing our status as a premier global hub for AI development and deployment. The AI Retreat will further accelerate our progress.”

Her Excellency Huda AlHashimi, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs, emphasised that the participation of the Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation in the AI Retreat highlights the Centre’s commitment to supporting initiatives that foster national integration and collaboration. The retreat serves as a crucial platform for presenting transformative projects that leverage advanced technologies, such as AI applications and data, to enhance government frameworks and drive innovation. It also reinforces efforts to position the UAE as a global leader in idea generation and the implementation of innovative practices, thereby ensuring the sustainability of success and the continuous improvement of society’s quality of life.

Al Hashimi stated that the UAE government embraces a forward-thinking approach focused on continuous innovation and transformative thinking. By fostering partnerships and encouraging community involvement in AI-based innovation, the government aims to develop solutions that address future challenges on both national and global scales.

His Excellency Dawood Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, confirmed that the AI Retreat 2024, announced by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is a strategic path towards harnessing the vast opportunities offered by AI technologies. It aims to accelerate AI adoption across all sectors, reflecting His Highness’s directives to enhance Dubai’s competitiveness and leadership as a global centre for technology and innovation by leveraging AI technologies.

His Excellency Abdullah Ali Bin Zayed Al Falasi, Director General of DGHR Department, said: “Artificial intelligence has garnered significant attention recently due to its rapidly developing and comprehensive capabilities. Therefore, it is imperative to enhance the knowledge and skills of government employees regarding its uses and opportunities. It is essential to swiftly identify these opportunities and harness the capabilities of AI to provide public services in an increasingly intelligent manner.”

Mohammad Alblooshi, Chief Executive Officer at DIFC Innovation Hub, stated: “The recent launch of the Dubai AI Campus is a testament to our ongoing efforts to attract the most forward-thinking businesses and entrepreneurs to the region, making it a driving force in the global economy. Through our participation in the Dubai AI Retreat, we are not only engaging in meaningful discourse but also laying the groundwork for creating future-proof government structures. This aligns with the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence, which highlights the significance of AI in driving economic growth and improving quality of life and aims to position the UAE as a global leader in AI by 2031.”

Marwan Zeineddine, UAE Managing Director at SAP, stated: “SAP is honoured to participate in the AI Retreat 2024, held under the annual Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence. This initiative underscores Dubai’s vision to become the world’s most future-ready city. SAP’s Business AI solutions align perfectly with Dubai’s ambition, fostering innovation and driving sustainable growth. At SAP, we are committed to upholding the principles of relevant, reliable, and responsible AI, which empower individuals to excel in creative problem-solving. Our collaboration with Dubai and the UAE Government reaffirms SAP’s commitment to supporting the public and private sectors’ efforts to establish Dubai as a global AI hub.”

Naim Yazbeck, General Manager of Microsoft UAE, said: “Collaboration across public, private, and academic sectors is essential to unlocking the potential of transformative technology and ensuring its benefits are accessible to all. The AI Retreat provides a valuable platform for collaboration and dialogue on AI’s challenges and opportunities. Our participation underscores our commitment to empowering individuals and organisations in the UAE and beyond. We look forward to engaging with industry leaders, developers, innovators, and policymakers to establish strategies that accelerate AI adoption and development in a safe and responsible manner.”

Shukri Eid, General Manager, Gulf, Levant and Pakistan for IBM, said: “The UAE’s visionary leadership has positioned the country at the forefront of AI adoption and innovation, fostering a dynamic ecosystem for technological advancements. As a global leader in AI innovation, we are dedicated to helping shape the future of AI for the betterment of society by serving as catalysts for driving progress, fostering partnerships, and ensuring that AI continues to benefit the society in meaningful ways.”

Partners participating in the AI Retreat will support the initiative’s objectives to design innovative solutions for both future and simultaneous implementation. These solutions include impactful initiatives that leverage AI to enhance sustainable development and improve quality of life for societies around the world.

The event will cement Dubai’s position as a global laboratory for enabling the development and adoption of AI applications in a way that benefits humanity. The retreat also offers a platform for announcing groundbreaking initiatives, sharing success stories, and forging strategic partnerships that boost AI adoption in government and the private sector. 

The retreat will host sessions, panel discussions, specialised workshops, and high-profile roundtable discussions centered around four key themes, namely ‘Funding and Financial’, ‘Infrastructure’, ‘Data Enablement’, and ‘Talent Development’.

About Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence

This initiative was launched on 29 April 2024 following the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make Dubai the world’s most future-ready city.

It supports the realisation of the objectives of the Dubai Economic Agenda D33, which include generating an annual contribution of around AED 100 billion to the new economy, making Dubai one of the world’s top three urban economies, and raising productivity by 50% through innovation and the adoption of digital solutions.