Open up to the world of possibilities represented by AI. But with precautions in place. Image Credit: Shutterstock

The launch of a comprehensive guide on the utilization of Generative AI applications by the UAE government highlights its unwavering dedication to driving technological advancement and fostering economic growth.

The National Programme for Artificial Intelligence and the National AI Strategy 2031 solidify the government’s commitment to capitalizing on AI’s vast potential. Organisations in the country and beyond are embracing the potential of these new technologies - a PwC report predicts that the UAE will have a 14 per cent share of its GDP attributed to AI by 2030.

Today’s AI is a powerful tool for enhancing critical thinking and stimulating creative expression. It enables us not only to search for information but seek answers to questions. It can help people discover insights amid complex data and processes. It speeds up our ability to express what we learn more quickly.

AI sure has its uses

AI has already been beneficial in many areas of human life, such as preserving vision, advancing cancer treatments, discovering new properties of proteins, and forecasting dangerous weather events. Foundation models like GPT-4 can act as assistants for people, making search a more effective tool for research and enhancing productivity at work.

Also, for any parent who has forgotten how to help their child with an algebra homework assignment, AI-based assistance is a useful teacher. In short, the possibilities are enormous. And the obligations for us who create this technology are even greater.

We need to use this landmark year not only to launch new AI innovations, but to responsibly and effectively address both the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead. It is vital to empower organizations across the UAE to responsibly leverage and utilize AI.

Acknowledging this critical need, Microsoft has been committed to building a responsible AI infrastructure. Our approach to Responsible AI is grounded in our AI principles of fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability.

Since 2017, we have invested in a cross-company program to ensure that AI systems are designed with responsibility in mind. The establishment of the Office of Responsible AI in 2019 and the development of the Microsoft Responsible AI Standard further underscore their dedication to mitigating potential harms associated with AI technologies.

The learnings we have taken from this approach centre on three broad areas:

  • First, we must ensure that AI is built and used responsibly and ethically. Proactive, self-regulatory efforts by responsible companies will help pave the way for these new laws, but they will have to be complemented by effective AI regulations that are flexible and adaptable to grow with the technology. Government and private sector partnerships will have an important role to play in defining the guardrails together.
  • Secondly, we need to ensure that AI is aligned with human values and serves the common good, not just the interests of a few. To do this, we need to foster a culture of responsible innovation and governance of AI, involving multiple stakeholders and perspectives. We need to empower workers with the skills and opportunities to thrive in an AI-enabled economy, and support students to achieve better learning outcomes with AI tools. We need to protect the rights and dignity of the most vulnerable groups, especially children, and ensure that AI does not exacerbate existing inequalities or create new ones.
  • Finally, we need to leverage AI for environmental sustainability and social justice. AI can help us tackle the climate crisis, by monitoring environmental impacts and developing clean energy solutions, while also ensuring a fair and inclusive transition to a low-carbon society.

Making sure AI is used responsibly requires us to build new and stronger collaborations with civil society, academia, governments and industry. We all have to work together to better comprehend the challenges that we face and the solutions that are most likely to work. This is the moment to cooperate on the principles and guidelines for AI.