Amb. AlQahtani shares UAE’s journey in responsible use of Artificial Intelligence with UoK students

On 7 August 2023 at 03:16

The Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Rwanda, Hazza AlQahtani interacted with students at the University of Kigali (UoK) where he shared his country’s remarkable journey toward becoming a global leader in the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its tools.

The event held on Monday 7th August 2023 at the university’s campus in Kigali, was attended by the management, lecturers and students.

AI encompasses the design of systems that enhance human perception, cognition, and problem-solving abilities. From aiding physicians in timely and accurate diagnoses to supporting drivers in avoiding dangerous situations and crashes, AI technologies promise significant value to people and society through data, computation, and advancements in machine learning algorithms.

The UAE’s Vision and Strategy for AI

In 2017, the UAE government introduced the UAE National Strategy for AI 2031, targeting efficient governance and transformative advancements in eight key sectors, including space, renewable energy, water, and education.

Remarkably, the UAE ranks 19th worldwide on the government AI readiness index, holding the top position in the region.

Amb. AlQahtani explained that the UAE envisions becoming a world leader in AI by 2031, unlocking new economic and social opportunities for citizens, governments, and businesses, with a goal of generating up to AED 335bn in economic growth.

The projected impact of AI on the world’s gross domestic product, with a potential 14 percent increase by 2030, equivalent to 15.7 trillion US Dollars, further emphasizes the transformative power of this technology.

Advancing AI Initiatives in the UAE

To achieve its AI aspirations, the UAE has taken significant steps, such as establishing the National Program for Artificial Intelligence. This program is dedicated to understanding, developing, and embracing AI and Robotics.

The AI Office under this program facilitates experimental pilot projects by providing funding to private sector companies, resulting in innovations like quantum computing applications in health diagnostics and global energy supply management.

AI Program Initiatives

Amb. AlQahtani highlighted several key AI initiatives held by the UAE over the years, including the AI Everything Summit in April 2019, the UAE AI Internship Program in 2018, and the UAE India AI Bridge partnership committee.

These initiatives aimed to foster collaboration, increase investments in AI startups, and equip Emirati students with AI skills through training and internship opportunities.

UAE’s Commitment to Fourth Industrial Revolution

The UAE’s strategy for the Fourth Industrial Revolution combines physical, digital, and biological technologies to create unprecedented products and services. Key sectors of focus include innovative education, artificial intelligence, intelligent genomic medicine and robotic healthcare, efficient government, sustainability, and smart cities.

The UAE Centennial 2071 Plan

The UAE Centennial 2071 Plan represents a long-term vision to fortify the country’s reputation and soft power by preparing future generations with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in a rapidly changing world.

Amb. AlQahtani emphasized that AI technology plays a crucial role in making this ambitious vision a reality across sectors.

Dubai Future Foundation’s Impact

The Dubai Future Foundation, an independent research think tank, has contributed to the UAE’s AI advancements through various programs and initiatives. The Dubai Future Accelerators, UAE Drones for Good, and the UAE AI & Robotics Award for Good are among the projects that foster partnerships and stimulate innovation.

Blockchain Strategies in the UAE

The UAE has been at the forefront of blockchain adoption, launching the Dubai Blockchain Strategy in 2018 to become the world’s first city fully powered by blockchain. This technology enhances data protection, streamlines processes, and increases trust and accountability.

University for Artificial Intelligence

In response to the changing job market, the UAE established the Mohammed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), offering full scholarships to students pursuing master’s and Ph.D. programs in machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing.

MBZUAI plays a pivotal role in advancing AI technology and supporting the country’s economic diversification efforts.

After interactive discussions, Amb. AlQahtani awarded four best performing students with smartphones.

He had last interacted with UoK students in 2021 where he urged them to take advantage of their country’s development programs to meet their aspirations.

With a surface area of 83,600 square km, the UAE was founded in 1971 and is made up of seven Emirates that include Abu Dhabi, the capital and Dubai the economic capital.

The UAE has a population of approximately 10 million, with 90% being foreigners who come to live, study and work in the country.

The Co-founder and Chairman of UoK, Philbert Afrika, praised Amb. AlQahtani for selecting a highly relevant and significant topic in this era of AI integration into daily life.

He also commended the Ambassador for fostering a strong bond with the university and expressed his optimism for further collaboration with the UAE through his unwavering support.

Amb. AlQahtani highlighted several key AI initiatives held by the UAE over the years.
Amb. AlQahtani awarding one of four best performing students with smartphones.
Students were given floor to ask questions for more clarifications.
The interactive discussions took place at UoK's campus in Kigali.
The university's management was also represented during interactions with UAE Ambassador to Rwanda.
Amb. Hazza AlQahtani has shared his country's journey toward becoming a global leader in the responsible use of Artificial Intelligence.
The Co-founder and Chairman of UoK, Philbert Afrika hailed Amb. AlQahtani for fostering a strong bond with the university.
Students following presentations at the event.
Amb. AlQahtani (second from left) along with the management of the University of Kigali during an interactive session with students.