the ICANN60, the 60th public meeting of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) organised the UAE’s Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) at the ADNEC in Abu Dhabi yesterday Photo Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Internet-based artificial intelligence and industrial revolution will play a crucial role in the UAE’s future development, a top official said here on Monday.

“Internet was the ideal leverage for development of the UAE in the past. Likewise, internet-based artificial intelligence and fourth industrial revolution will play similar role in the future,” said Hamad Obaid Al Mansouri, the director-general of Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) said at a conference in the capital.

He highlighted the fact that the UAE has appointed a new minster for artificial intelligence. Al Mansouri was talking at the opening ceremony of ICANN60, the 60th the public meeting of internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), the non-profit body that oversees internet addresses.

Another TRA official said artificial intelligence would play a major role in the government’s interaction with the public. “Yes, robots will also have a role in the government’s interaction with the people,” Engineer Abdul Rahman Al Marzouqi, Manager of internet advancement policy and programmes department at TRA, said in reply to a question from Gulf News on the sidelines of the event.

Al Marzouqi said the UAE has the highest number of domain names on internet in the Arab world.

About 210,000 domain names have been registered under the UAE country code “.ae” and another 200,000 domains under various codes also registered from the UAE.

In other Arab countries it may be just 40,000 or 50,000 only, he said.

The TRA director-general highlighted that 96.3 per cent of the UAE government’s most important 337 day-to-day services made the smart transition to mGovernment and mServices by 2015. About 81.5 per cent of cell phones registered in the UAE networks are smartphones as of mid-2017.

He said the UAE realised the importance of internet very early as the first Internet City in the region was launched in Dubai in 1999, just one year after the establishment of the ICANN. ICANN is responsible for managing and coordinating the Domain Name System (DNS) to ensure that every address is unique and that all users of the internet can find all valid addresses.

In 2,000, the UAE launched the first e-government project in the region — an e-payment system called e-dirham introduced by the Ministry of Finance, the official said.

“In today’s world the internet has become one of the fundamental rights of human beings... like the right to air, water and decent living,” Al Mansouri said.

About 2,000 delegates from 140 nations are discussing policies for the internet Domain Name System at the global meeting, which will end on Friday.

Dr Stephen Crocker, the ICANN board chair, who is known as one of the founders of the internet, said distrust relating to institutions had cropped up in recent years because of a lack of transparency and accountability. He added that ICANN was committed to those values, he said.