Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy & Remote Work Applications, at the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy & Remote Work Applications, and the Deputy Managing Director of the Dubai Future Foundation, today called for a fresh approach to how countries govern AI, urging the global community to come to a consensus on AI governance sooner than it did on climate change.

Al Olama emphasised the importance of ensuring that governance and ethics around AI align with the values and beliefs of diverse populations, highlighting the UAE’s commitment to creating a framework that acknowledges the unique cultural diversity of the country; home to residents from over 200 nationalities.

He stressed the importance of using AI to enhance the quality of life, not just raise productivity.

“I think the current global discussion on AI governance is a non-starter. You cannot govern AI. Instead of attempting to govern the technology, we can govern the use cases,” he said during a fireside chat with CNN’s Eleni Giokos, titled ‘Navigating the GenAI Frontier: A UAE Perspective’, during the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI.

The event is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation.

Al Olama said the UAE is actively exploring opportunities in generative AI, broadening its application scope, and establishing essential platforms for AI practical use cases that harness its potential for the betterment of humanity. This underscores the principle that forward-thinking governments are best positioned to lead the development of AI and its future applications.

“While governments and societies must openly address concerns around AI, fear should not dominate the discussion.”

The minister urged individuals not to be driven by fear of job losses but to channel their anxiety into empowerment. He also emphasised the importance of embracing necessary tools and enrolling others in the journey to harness AI’s potential for positive change.

Al Olama, who was recently named by Time magazine among the 100 most influential people in AI, highlighted the journey of the UAE as an early adopter of AI.

He said: “During my tenure as Minister of AI, I had to justify the significance of what we were doing. Today, the debate is very different; it is that the UAE is very far ahead, and others seek to catch up.”

The Dubai Assembly for Generative AI brings together more than 1,800 officials, experts, and decision-makers from around the world. Organised by the Dubai Future Foundation, GenAI Assembly takes place October 11 to 12 at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071.