Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of Dubai Holding and Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy seen at the panel discussion during global agenda summit. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: The UAE in partnership with the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council (GAC) on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics launched on Tuesday a new council that will offer advice on the best ways to use robotics and artificial intelligence to improve people’s lives.

The council, which will also create educational materials and help chart a global action plan in its speciality, will be managed by the UAE Prime Minister’s Office and will meet annually to pursue a broad range of initiatives.

“Humanity is on a journey. There are milestones on this journey — from the discovery of fire, to the invention of agriculture, to the industrial revolution. Robotics, automation and artificial intelligence are the next major steps in this voyage,” said Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs.

The founding members of the Council comprise leading researchers and innovators from the world’s best universities, companies and organisations, including University of California, Berkley Carnegie Mellon University, KAIST, University of Southampton, American University of Beirut, Climate Bridge Ventures, Universal Robotics, Scuola Superiore, Sant’Anna, Khalifa University, Machine Intelligence Research Institute, University of Lisbon, and many others.

The council announced as its first initiative the UAE “Robots for Good” Award, building on the successful UAE “Drones for Good” Award which received 800 submissions from 62 countries around the world in its first edition.

The goal of the UAE “Robots for Good” is to encourage research and application of innovative solutions to challenges in three areas: Health, Education and Social Services. Winning submissions will provide real services that improve people’s lives, ranging from hardware to software intelligence and artificial agents.

The Award will be opened for submission in February, 2015, at the Government Summit in Dubai, UAE, with members of the Council forming the Judging Committee.

Other initiatives of the Council will include educational conferences, the use of robotics in UAE schools and universities, and leading policies on the humanitarian and positive uses of robotics and artificial intelligence.

“We are pleased to collaborate with the UAE to develop a test bed and global action plan that will have measurable economic and policy impact, as well to encourage public understanding and awareness of the positive potentials of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics,” said Dr. Corinna E. Lathan, Chair, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics.

The 3-day GAC Summit in Dubai was attended by more than 1,000 participants from 83 countries, with the highest number of participants from the United States followed by Europe. The delegates included two head of states, 12 government ministers and 400 business executives.

The summit explored a number of topics of current relevance such as innovation, renewable energy, climate change, competitiveness, energy security, corporate governance systems, media and entertainment, infrastructure, intellectual property and internet security.

In addition, it also looked at major challenges such as refugee crisis, humanitarian aid, extremism, health concerns and several other issues currently facing the world.