The UAE is a leading player in the responsible use of AI technology and its tools. It aims to become a fast adopter of emerging AI technologies across government and to attract and nurture AI talent to experiment and solve complex problems in a sophisticated and secure ecosystem. In this regard, the UAE has adopted the National AI Strategy 2031 and the UAE National Program for Artificial Intelligence, both of which will shape the digital and technological ecosystems and impact digital creativity.
There are numerous initiatives across the country aimed at creating opportunities for technological businesses and startups across all sectors to thrive by providing access to funding, networks, and a favorable environment for innovation and growth. The impact of the technology hubs will no doubt be expanded to the cultural field over the coming years.
Another strategic focus is the development of a new generation of talent with skills and knowledge about AI and the cutting-edge technologies. In this regard, the UAE aims for all students, schools, and universities to be equipped with smart systems and devices as a basis for all teaching, projects and research. The use of AI technologies across the education sector and for students at all levels will impact the digital competencies of learners and will, over the long run, manifest in various ways including in cultural expression. Furthermore, emphasis is also being placed on nurturing AI skills and knowledge of modern technologies in higher education.
Over the years, many initiatives have been implemented in the UAE to strengthen advanced technologies and the digital environment, below is some of the most notable initiatives:
* Hub 71 in Abu Dhabi is nurturing an international technology ecosystem and supporting the transition of Abu Dhabi to a knowledge driven economy. Startups are supported through key start-up enablers seeking to invest in smart technology. In the first 12 months of its establishment, Hub71 added 36 startups to its ecosystem comprising of a broad spectrum of sectors including FinTech, artificial intelligence, aerospace and mobility. These startups came from across the world including the United States, the United Kingdom, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.
* In Dubai, DTEC is a technology innovation hub designed to facilitate the setup of new technology startups by providing coworking spaces, accelerator programs, funding and networking events. DTEC is home to 800+ startups with people representing 70 nationalities.
* In Abu Dhabi, there is an AI laboratory available to all Abu Dhabi government employees to enable the development of different use cases and learn how to benefit from AI. An integrated training program is also provided.
* In Sharjah, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park is collaborating with Sharjah's Department of Government Relations to develop a pilot program to enable the accelerated Artificial Intelligence readiness of all government entities in Sharjah. Through the program, participating institutions will develop an in-depth assessment of their departments in accelerating innovation and prepare a draft strategy towards the implementation of Artificial Intelligence and more efficient delivery of government services.
* In 2018, the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government launched an executive education program entitled 'Governance of Artificial Intelligence' for leaders and government decision-makers.
Furthermore, to ensure that people in the UAE are able to engage in an advanced AI ecosystem, initiatives were adopted to develop a new generation of regional talent, some of which are as follows:
* In 2018 the UAE signed an agreement with DELL to see the training of 500 Emirati students under a specialized AI program.
* In 2018, the Higher Colleges of Technology signed an agreement with Oracle to implement a specialized training program for its students on basic skills in AI and modern technologies.
* In 2019, the first batch of 94 students completed the UAE National Artificial Intelligence Program, a program implemented in partnership with Kellogg College at Oxford University. Through the program, students learnt insights on the latest tools and ethics of modern technology and practical uses of AI in various sectors.