With an eye on the future, Dubai is investing in artificial intelligence
Dubai has become a leading center for research and development in emerging industries, primarily focused on the adoption of new technologies. Digital transformation in the public and private sectors of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) further strengthens Dubai’s position as a global technology hub. The emirate is gaining momentum as a knowledge-based economy thanks to the wide-scale adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) which benefits businesses in myriad ways.
“AI is a game-changer for businesses as it improves productivity, reduces costs, unlocks job expansion and creates opportunities for growth,” says Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates united for artificial intelligence. Al Olama, in fact, is the prime minister dedicated to AI by any government in the world. Interestingly, the UAE is also the first to have an AI strategy that covers development and application in 9 sectors including transport, health, education and space.
The global market value of the AI sector is expected to hit $15.7 trillion in 2030 while its impact in the Middle East could be felt to the tune of $320 billion with the UAE leading the way. The UAE has invested heavily in creating a viable ecosystem for businesses engaged in AI and the strategy is to achieve a 35% increase in AI’s contribution to the country’s GDP. “Our society is ready and eager to be part of the future,” enthuses Al Olama.
Dubai FDI, which is part of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development which supports foreign companies wishing to invest in the emirate, has well-defined strategies to meet the needs of its partners. The idea is to position Dubai as the world’s leading hub for the digital economy, while a 1 billion dirham “Dubai Future District Fund” attracts startups that harness emerging technologies, in particular AI, cybersecurity, blockchain, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) among others.
“We continue to attract global giants and startups to these segments,” says Fahad Al Gergawi, Managing Director of Dubai FDI. There are 90 investment funds and 12 business incubators in the UAE’s digital sector, says Al Gergawi, and the total value of startups in the country is $408 million. Meanwhile, applauding the UAE’s leadership, Shukri Eid, managing director of CISCO, said Dubai has shown willingness to embrace a new way of thinking.
“We see the will not only from a technology perspective, but also from a business model, human capital and operational perspective,” says Shukri Eid, who believes that the digital age cannot be embraced without the full backing and support of a country, city and organizational leaders. Dubai’s foray into AI is so profound that Dubai Police by 2031 is expected to use AI in all operations, including security, crime prediction and accident response.
“Dubai is a smart city in every way. Smart Dubai has an AI roadmap that strives to find innovative solutions. We are committed to creating a more efficient, seamless and impactful city,” notes Ibrahim Ahli, Director of Investment Promotion Division at Dubai FDI. Two factors, including a series of recent reforms, are helping Dubai. But what works wonders is its human intelligence that foresees the crucial role that AI will play in the future.
Disclaimer: This article is part of a featured content series on business in Dubai