UAE government launches artificial intelligence strategy

Region pushes forward with Centennial 2070 objectives as it looks to boost workplace productivity

The UAE Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been launched by vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as the government looks to technology boost workplace efficiency.

It is hoped the new strategy – the first of its kind in the region – will speed up the government’s performance and “create a conducive creative environment” encouraging higher productivity.

The government said it would invest in AI and its applications across multiple domains, with the strategy forming part of the UAE Centennial 2070 objectives.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said that AI was “the new wave after the Smart Government upon which all our services, sectors and future infrastructure will rely on”. He added that AI applications would generate revenues and provide fresh opportunities for the national economy.

The prime minister visited GITEX Technology Week earlier this month, at which a new online platform was launched by Smart Dubai, called Fajwa. It will enable Dubai Police to analyse the skills and experience held by employees, and make sure they are correctly matched to their current role, or match them with a new role.

“The platform will enable department heads and managers to track employee productivity and the extent to which their skills match their current position or another vacant position. This will enable managers to direct talents to the right field and, therefore, increase employee happiness," said Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, director-general of the Smart Dubai Office, reported Khaleej Times.

It will identify training and skills gaps, in order that employees can undergo additional development, and there are plans to roll it out to other areas of the Dubai government.

In March this year, the Smart Dubai Government Establishment – the technology arm of Smart Dubai Office – hosted a workshop for executives and technical teams from various government agencies to raise awareness of Dubai’s AI service Saad.

Launched in October last year, Saad is the city’s first government service to utilise AI. It is designed to understand natural language and take in and comprehend huge amounts of data, learn and reason from its interactions, and provide responses that will aid users in deciding the correct course of action, reported Emirates 24/7.

Within HR, the most visible form of AI at present is employee-facing chatbots. While these are most commonly present in the area of online customer service, they are now being used within HR departments in Europe and the US, with experts suggesting it is only a matter of time before they are commonplace in the Middle East.

Earlier this year, Dubai-based logistics operator Aramex launched a bilingual chatbot on Facebook Messenger. It uses AI to deal with questions from customers about shipment tracking and delivery times, and is thought to be one of the first mainstream bots from a private sector business in the region.

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