Dubai: Two artificial intelligence (AI) initiatives have been launched to accelerate the adoption of AI technology due to its crucial role in shaping the country’s future.

The initiatives were launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as he attended part of an AI experts retreat on Sunday.

Organised by the National Programme for Artificial Intelligence, the retreat brought together more than 350 AI experts from the public and private sector to discuss future opportunities and challenges in adopting artificial intelligence in the country and the role of AI technology in shaping the future of various key areas.

“The AI technology has become fundamental to shaping the future of nations and peoples across the world, and is a key element in the action plans of future governments, and a catalyst for the growth of global markets and new economic sectors,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

He said the UAE is one of the leading countries globally in promoting the role of AI technology in shaping the future. “AI is a pillar of our future strategies and development plans for the next 50 years, and a vital tool for developing work in all areas related to people’s lives. AI technologies are not limited to government services, but also help improve the living standards of people in the UAE,” he emphasised.

The AI Talent Hunt Programme aims to create a global AI laboratory in the UAE that includes the best national and international expertise and talents who will work in an advanced environment to develop innovative solutions and pioneering projects serving humanity.

“In our efforts to design the future of the UAE, we focus on a forward-looking vision that embraces global trends and developments, supports young minds and promising talents, encourages modern innovations and creative ideas, and adopts advanced technologies. We want the UAE to be the first choice for AI technology companies and talents from around the world. We want the UAE to be one of the world’s best countries in developing this sector and investing in its potential,” the Vice-President said.

He added: “We welcome the world’s talents to the UAE, which will serve as a laboratory for their AI innovations, experiences and ideas. We want government agencies and private sector leaders in the UAE to develop partnerships and intensify efforts to provide an environment conducive to the development of artificial intelligence.”

Challenge Programme

Shaikh Mohammad attended the signing of an agreement to launch the “AI Challenge Programme” initiative in partnership between the National Program for Artificial Intelligence and Microsoft.

The agreement was signed by Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, and Sayed Hashish, General Manager of Microsoft in the UAE. The launch of the AI Challenge program is part of efforts to strengthen the UAE government’s partnership with various private entities and international institutions to accelerate the adoption AI technologies and build the national talent capacity and expertise in line with the goals of the National AI Strategy 2031.

It also aims to enhance the country’s competitiveness in future sectors and provide the basic infrastructure supporting the testing and application of AI technologies.

The retreat started with a brainstorming session during which experts discussed a range of innovative solutions and new initiatives to address challenges and coming up with ideas that help strengthen joint cooperation between the public and private sectors, provide the future infrastructure that supports the UAE’s position and transforms it into a global hub for testing and developing AI technologies.