In Brief
The United Arab Emirates made changes to its government ministers on Thursday, announcing a new position that focuses on the development of artificial intelligence. The UAE is the first nation with a government minister dedicated to AI.

A New Phase

Governments around the world are beginning to understand the potential and importance of artificial intelligence (AI). International acceptance has spread with the implementation of AI regulations, like what has been created in Germany. For others, like the U.S., incorporating AI begins with recommendations on how to move forward with the tech. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), however, the government took AI adoption one step further by installing a minister in-charge of AI.

The UAE’s first State Minister for Artificial Intelligence is 27-year-old Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama. Olama is one of six newly appointed ministers, three of whom were women, who represent a new phase in the UAE’s pursuit of “future skills, future sciences and future technology, as we prepare for the centenary to ensure a better future for our generations,” UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum said during Thursday’s announcement, according to Gulf News.

Importance of AI

As tech companies begin to center their business models around AI, it’s no surprise that a country like the UAE and a city like Dubai — which has invested heavily in technologies that are future-focused — want to be at the forefront of this development. Dubai, for example, plans to put robot cops on the streets by 2030 and they’ve also been pushing to get autonomous vehicles on the city’s roads and in its skies. AI is also among the major research areas of the Dubai Accelerators program.

“We want the UAE to become the world’s most prepared country for artificial intelligence,” said Prime Minister Shaikh Mohammad. These new appointments were part of a cabinet reshuffle approved by President Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who first consulted with Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces. Aside from AI, Dubai is also investing in a number of hyperloop projects and even a plan to reach Mars.

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