Meet the UAE’s new robot overlords: AI technology coming to government offices

Published March 28th, 2017 - 09:41 GMT
The UAE government is looking at how AI can be integrated into government services. (Shutterstock)
The UAE government is looking at how AI can be integrated into government services. (Shutterstock)

A new Artificial Intelligence (AI) smart lab will soon begin training government employees and private sector officials to implement AI and 'cognitive computing' in a wide variety of tasks that will make residents' lives easier, according to officials.

The lab - launched on Monday during a workshop by the Smart Dubai Office and Smart Dubai Government Establishment - will begin training a batch of 200 people next month, but will later on be open to researchers, students and the general public. "To move towards the future, we have to redefine government and embed AI in our services. We have no choice but to embrace technology," said Dr Aisha bint Butti bin Bishr, Director-General of Smart Dubai Office. "We want to replace call centres and help parents choose schools for their children using cognitive computing."

Wesam Lootah, CEO of SDG, the technology arm of Smart Dubai Office, noted that the government wants "to look at how we can integrate AI into government services and city experiences".

"Unlike humans, machines can surf through hundreds of journals in a minute, be consistent across activities and avoid making mistakes," said Lootah, adding that AI helps humans to make better decisions.

While studies have shown that AI will replace 50 percent of all jobs by 2025, Dr Noah Raford, COO of Dubai Future Foundation, said the technology will be more like a helpful colleague.

"Intelligent robots won't handle specific human relation interaction, but will become a tool in serving and supporting the human being. Therefore, it isn't very effective for us as governments and colleagues to think that robots will be stealing our jobs," said Raford, adding that AI should be thought of as 'New Collar Jobs'.

With machines growing more intelligent every year, Raford added AI will revolutionise everyday life by understanding human needs.

By Sherouk Zakaria

Copyright © 2021 Khaleej Times. All Rights Reserved.

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