UAE banks on A.I. to make it feel like a 'city of the future'

  • Government-run services in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be boosted a "hundred fold" thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the country's first minister dedicated to fostering the technology told CNBC.
  • Omar bin Sultan Al Olama said the UAE's "agility" will help it become a world leader in AI.
  • Al Olama said he wants the country's cities to look futuristic.

Government-run services in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will be boosted a "hundred fold" thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the country's first minister dedicated to fostering the technology told CNBC Monday.

The UAE leadership has been pushing the development of AI technology and it has been a large topic of discussion at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the UAE's minister of state for artificial intelligence, said the "agility" of the country's government will help it become a world leader in the technology.

"In 10 years we will be the capital of AI in service and government. I also think we will be a hub for AI in the region. AI is a very interesting field right now, it's very broad right now, so every country is going to look at specializing in their own field," Al Olama told CNBC in a TV interview on Monday.

He explained that the country's strengths lie in government and other areas like transport, which it will apply AI to. Other countries may be leaders in other fields. But the ultimate aim is to make the cities in the UAE feel futuristic.

"We are going to try to use AI to improve these services hundred fold from what they are today and we are going to try to implement them in the government in a way that makes every single resident and tourist feel like they are in the city of the future," Al Olama said.

The message at the World Government Summit around AI has been positive. Sebastian Thrun, the chairman of online education platform Udacity, and founder of Google X, the search giant's secret moonshot lab, told CNBC earlier on Monday that AI would create "superhuman workers."

A number of countries are investing heavily in AI. China recently announced plans to build a $2.1 billion research park dedicated to AI development, and said it wants to be the world leader in the technology by 2030.