UAE Archives — Carrington Malin

August 21, 2020
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A great roundup about artificial intelligence in the Middle East by Damian Radcliffe, Carolyn S Chambers Professor in Journalism at the University of Oregon, which quotes me commenting on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. With IT spending in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) forecast by IDC to reach $83 billion this year, AI is going to become an increasing focus.

IDC also predicts that investment in AI systems across MEA will hit $374.2 million this year, up from $261.8 million in 2018 and a projected expenditure of $310.3 million in 2019. However, with many AI technologies in high demand since the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, one has to wonder how this will affect IDC’s forecasts – not just in the MEA region, but globally too.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE had both begun investing in new AI technologies for government use, planning how to encourage AI-powered innovations and looking at regulatory requirements for their Fourth Industrial Revolution future. However, the advent of coronavirus has certainly fueled both interest and investment in artificial intelligence, with public and private sectors investing in automation, data analysis, robotics, health and safety systems, plus technologies to enhance contactless delivery of consumer services.

Despite forcing the cancellation of many high tech events around the region, the pandemic has also, arguably, fast tracked government plans and policies to harness AI and create a business environment conducive to driving successful digital economies. The UAE is reported to have improved plans for leveraging AI consistent with its national AI strategy, while Dubai announced a new comprehensive drone law in July. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia approved its own national artificial intelligence strategy in August – and muted that it would soon introduce a comprehensive law to govern commercial and recreational drone use in the Kingdom.

For more on artificial intelligence in the Middle East read Damian’s full article here.


May 31, 2020
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Abu Dhabi is moving its R&D strategy up a gear with the formation of a new Advanced Technology Research Council or ATRC, to be headed up by Dark Matter founder Faisal Albannai.

With a growing variety of R&D initiatives driven by the likes of ADNOC, DarkMatter, Group 42, Inception Institute of Artificial Intelligence and others, Abu Dhabi is starting to create a significant R&D ecosystem. Last year Abu Dhabi Investment Office and SenseTime announced that the AI unicorn would open an EMEA R&D centre in Abu Dhabi employing 600 engineers. More recently ADQ launched a $300 million startup fund aiming to bring promising Asian startups to set-up in Abu Dhabi. The mix of big tech, new startups and government-backed R&D initiatives could turn out to be a magic combination.

Read the full article in The National here.


January 17, 2020
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The fluid state of the global AI talent pool and fierce international competition among nations for leadership positions in the Fourth Industrial Revolution mean that winning new talent wars will require more than simply outbidding competitors.

Today’s policymakers must recognise that they need to attract both home-grown and international AI talent, leverage human resources that are located around the world and create ways of building long-term relationships that will continue to support the availability of talent. It’s all about building talent ecosystems, rather than simply planning to acquire more people with the right skills.

Continue reading this story on The National


December 21, 2019
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The UAE’s all abuzz about AI! We’re exposed to more and more news about artificial intelligence, or AI, these days – from stories about talking robots to deepfake videos of celebrities and self-driving cars. AI has become a buzzword and popular interest has been steadily growing over the past few years. However, it would be a mistake to assume that everyone shares the same level of interest, learning about new technologies and increasing their understanding of AI at the same rate. After all, more than 40 percent of the world’s population isn’t even connected to the Internet yet.

Here in the UAE, the media seems to provide residents with a daily diet of news about artificial intelligence. This is no accident. Although it’s never a perfect replica, the media is a reflection of society and interest in AI-related topics has grown as business, government and education investment in AI has scaled-up.

Continue reading this story on The National


October 12, 2017
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This week the mobile operators association GSMA confirmed the United Arab Emirate’s position as one of the most advanced mobile markets in the world, with 80 percent of the country’s population using their mobile devices to access the Internet. The country’s high rate of mobile adoption is already well known, with the UAE leading in smartphone penetration from 2013. According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA), mobile phone usage in the UAE increased to 228.3 phones per 100 people this year.

As mobile has become the preferred media channel for consumers, so it has become the main driver for digital advertising. According to emarketer, some 63% of global digital media spending this year will be mobile and this is expected to grow to 77% by the year 2021.

Continue reading this story on the Spot On blog.