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Laws will be in place to regulate use of AI: Minister

The country's new Ministry of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will develop legislations and frameworks to regulate the use of technologies in government and federal institutions, the minister has said.

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the world's first minister of artificial intelligence, said the ministry will also work closely with education authorities to upgrade programming subjects to advanced AI curricula.

"While the government started an initiative to teach programming to kindergarten children to university students, the hard part is done. Our role in the ministry is to develop the skills from basic coding to machinery learning," said Al Olama during a session addressed in the Dubai Press Club.

He said advanced AI curricula will be implemented in high school education and universities. "It is easier to teach a generation that has already basic knowledge of programming. The government has always foreseen the future and took steps forward."

Al Olama, who was appointed as the AI minister in the latest cabinet reshuffle in October, said the ministry's focus will rely on developing legislations and regulations around AI, enhancing awareness and training of AI use to guide all sectors to adjust to the new changes, and attracting best skills in the UAE and across the world.

He stressed the positive impact AI will have on people's lives. He said while in the short run, AI will influence society positively, the negative impact can start showing in the long run if there's no government to regulate it.

"We will add clear laws, framework and roadmap for implementing AI to serve humanity, not control humanity," said Al Olama.

He noted that while oil was the main drive for nation's development in the past, data is what will lead the future. "AI will help us process and analyse hundreds of millions of gigabytes of data in seconds, which would normally take us thousands of years to analyse. AI will help provide solutions to whatever is difficult for the human to do and help decision makers take rightful choices," he added.

"In the health sector, for example, AI provides accurate diagnosis in a rate that reaches 97 per cent, which is better than any doctor. In the UAE, we have biggest solar energy generator - Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park- and AI give us solutions on solar energy storage and distribution," said Al Olama.

While AI is still at its primitive stage, it has "profoundly impacted our life in every sector."

And as the government aims to celebrate the last barrel of oil in the next 50 years, Al Olama said it is necessary to develop a new economy and adjust to changes that are not oil-dependent.

"The government highlighted its demands in the UAE centennial 2071, and now it's up to us to improve ourselves and endorse these values in our children," he noted.

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