By: Waheed Abbas, Khaleej Times

AI indeed has a positive impact on society and businesses, Al Olama says at Artelligence 2019

With the artificial intelligence industry evolving, new types of jobs will emerge that don’t exist today and the social element will be the key driver for the jobs market in the coming years, said Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence.

“The issue of job losses and workforce migration due to AI is being addressed globally. Actually, every era brought new type of jobs over the last thousands of years of human civilisation. In the next era, the type of jobs that we are going to have will evolve and social element is going to be key driver,” Al Olama said in his keynote address at the Artelligence – the Artificial Intelligence Forum in Dubai on Wednesday.

The event is being hosted by Khaleej Times in partnership with MIT Sloan Management Review GCC. AI experts from the UAE and abroad across public and private sectors are in attendance at the two-day forum.

Mohammad Galadari, Executive Committee member and Director, Galadari Brothers, and Hesham Khoory, Director, Galadari Brothers, presented a momento to the minister.

“The next era is going to bring jobs that don’t exist today and those jobs that we don’t understand today. But we do know that there is need to be more agile and proactive,” he said at the forum.

“Add AI to every single sector and you will find a successful model that is going to change the world. we need to work together to make sure that AI impacts us positively.”

The minister praised His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for his visionary leadership.

“His Highness is a visionary leader that see things much further ahead than most of us. The people were talking about negative impact of AI and why AI should be stopped. His Highness had said that AI is going to impact every single government and we need to start preparing now. I have been blessed to be given chance to overcome this challenge,” he added.

Al Olama called for working jointly to ensure that AI impacts the society and companies positively as the deployment of this technology without understanding it could harm businesseses. He pointed out that Muslim Arabs were leading the world for hundreds of years in science and deployment of technologies but they lagged behind for not adopting just one technology – the printing press.

“For hundreds of years, the Arab civilisation was the most advanced in the world. In the 15th century, a decision was made that took us from exporters of technology to dependent importers. In 1455, a technology was invented that created upheaval and every civilisation embraced it except the Muslim Arab civilisation – it was the printing press. The technology was replicated and spread. So, the impact of it was revolutionary,” he said.

Al Olama added that the printing press remained banned for 200 years. “The whole world was developing and we were going backward and we had to pay price. AI is that technology today. It is the technology that we need to start looking at actively, because it will affect every single facet of life. If you think your field is safe from AI, unfortunately, you are misled,” he said.

Earlier, Vicky Kapur, Executive Editor of Khaleej Times, welcomed the dignitaries and delivered an opening address at the forum.

“We keep hearing that AI’s impact has already started and AI is going to write articles. We keep hearing that hundreds of people will lose jobs because of AI. But when we look back, we realise that the technology has always served the human race very well from the time when human being created tools and weapons out of woodblocks to now where AI is defining new era of how we interact, communicate, build houses and create content,” Kapur said.

He stated that AI may result in people losing jobs but thousands more will be created which are highlighted in the media on daily basis.

“Change is the only constant thing but it is also disruptive and human beings fear disruption. This time, thanks to AI, the change is not only faster as compared to what it has been in the past but it is also more extensive. There will be hardly any any aspect of life that will be untouched by AI five to ten years from now.”


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