AI robot concierge, during the opening ceremony of the inaugural Artificial Intelligence Week Middle East on Tuesday, 4 September 2018, at the Park Hyatt Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE is soon transforming into an Artificial Intelligence-powered society and projects like Smart Dubai are working towards providing a seamless smart transformation in everyday living said a senior Smart Dubai executive at the first ever AI Week Middle East Conference being held in Dubai.

From industry to banking to health care, AI has proliferated every aspect of our lives and leading global technology companies such as Microsoft, Accenture, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), Etisalat Digital, Infosys, GE Healthcare among others showcased their digital solutions at the event.

Speaking as a panellist at the weeklong conference, that began on Tuesday, Hessa Al Baloushi, director of smart services at Smart Dubai Government said: “Dubai has already rolled out the AI road map and we are concentrating on the accelerated implementation of the AI road map for smart governance. Citing a simple example of how AI algorithms have helped translate technological data for everyday applications, Al Balooshi said: “A simple example is that of a happiness meter that we have implemented in all government departments. The feedback we got from customers could be categorised into complaints, issue or suggestion from customers. So we developed an AI model classifying these responses and forwarding it to the relevant departments to provide productive feedback from customers.”

An annual report on AI by PWC, Middle East, presented at the conference pointed out that AI was going to be the gamechanger in business contributing $15.7 trillion (Dh57.66 trillion) to the world economy by 2030 and $9.6 billion to the UAE economy — nearly 13.6 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2030.

Enunciating the impact of AI on everyday lives of the common man, Stephen Anderson, Middle East’s Client and Marketing Leader for PWC talked about the proliferation of AI in our everyday lives.

“AI is happening in our lives as we speak, impacting every aspect, be it Google Maps telling us about traffic jams or many of our lifestyle tweaks that go beyond cloud or consumer computing. There is a quantum leap in AI use. AI will do for our world what free trade did earlier, ie drive that extra value and take our trade to the next level,” he said. Anderson added that the issues to be addressed include reducing the asymmetry caused by widespread use of AI and to make it more inclusive.

Several UAE government departments participated in the conference and organisations such as Dubai Municipality, Ministry of Health and Prevention, SEHA, and Etisalat were honoured for the innovative and widespread use of AI. In the private sector, Microsoft and Infosys were given special awards.

Alongside the main conference, the event featured a start-up pitch platform allowing start-ups to pitch innovative AI products and a Hackathon, supported by Accenture.

Xavier Anglada, Managing Director of Accenture Digital, Dubai said that 25 such projects were submitted by students in the age group of 12-23. Three projects were shortlisted and one will receive an award during the week. Anglada said: “We got a massive response to the start-up pitch and hackathon organised. We had students as young as 12 come up with innovative and well-structured AI-based ideas that represented an unrestrained and innovative approach to problem-solving.”

Citing an example of one such start-up pitch, Anglada said: “We had one project by students of Year 11 of a school who presented a Block Chain model based on AI to bring together organ donors with health care institutions in case of road fatalities. It was impressive the way they had structured it and also looked at the legal issues involved. There was another project on biometrics to be used in class attendance based on facial recognition.”

The winners of the start-up project will not only get monetary incentives, but will also be offered mentorship and internships with Accenture.

What is AI?

Artificial Intelligence is a collective term for computer systems that can sense their environment, think, learn and take action in response to their objectives.

Forms of AI used today include digital assistants, chatbots and machine-learning, among others. Different kinds of AI include assisted intelligence, automated intelligence, augmented intelligence and autonomous intelligence.

As humans and machines collaborate more closely, the transformational possibilities from AI innovations are infinite.