Artificial Intelligence with blue background

Dubai lays out blueprint for AI adoption as regional competition heats up

Dubai is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to increase artificial intelligence (AI) adoption metrics in the region, launching a new blueprint to integrate the technology into everyday life.

According to an official statement, the ambitious plan will cut across all sectors of Dubai’s economy, merging efforts of administrators and private enterprises. The blueprint advocates appointing an AI CEO for every government entity in the Emirate, with appointees given the liberty to draft the AI strategies for their respective organizations.

Government agencies are expected to integrate generative AI offerings to improve efficiency in operations, but each agency can explore its own tailor-made use case. A key theme of the blueprint is integrating with other emerging technologies, with the paper pushing to establish an AI and Web3 hub.

Although the budget for the new hub remains under wraps, Dubai’s administrators say the incoming establishment will attract global AI firms to set up operations in the region.

The plan will see schools in the Emirates roll out an AI Week for pupils designed to introduce the concept of generative AI and machine learning. Armed with an extensive budget, AI Week will teach students about AI ethics, new tools, and ancillary skills, including coding.

The educational drive is expected to deepen Dubai’s talent pool, but the blueprint’s ace is the proposed launch of a commercial license plan for international AI companies. This is an attempt to attract “specialized companies” to Dubai to gain a leading edge over other regional competitors.

Dubai’s government says it will allocate land for the construction of data centers to boost cloud and AI technology, with the blueprint receiving the blessing of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“In recent years, the evolution of artificial intelligence has accelerated, presenting numerous opportunities for nations and governments adept at utilizing it, while posing challenges for those unable to keep pace,” said Al Maktoum. “This required swift and adaptive action plans to the rapid changes in technology and artificial intelligence.

The steam train rolls on

Dubai has been experimenting with AI since 2020 but recent plays by the city’s administrators indicate a desire to double down the use of the technology. Aware of the raft of benefits, authorities say they have changed the approach toward licensing AI firms to trigger a wave of applications via a 90% subsidy on application fees.

Partnerships with OpenAI and Serbian firms have birthed early results for the region, but there are fears that the government could use AI to suppress citizens. Dubai still has to contend with the growing influence of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and next-door neighbor Abu Dhabi for the top spot for AI in the Gulf.

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