UAE strives to become the capital of AI in the coming decade: Defense Minister

By Rahul Vaimal, Associate Editor
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UAE’s Minister of State for Defence Affairs Mohammed Ahmad Al Bowardi shared his country’s ambition to be the capital of artificial intelligence (AI) in the next decade while working in line with the fourth industrial revolution with friendly countries and international partners.

As a result of the global population boom and the decreasing natural resources, regional and international instability is escalating, while boundary conflicts and ideological differences pose a security threat to human society as a whole, Mr. Al Bowardi remarked.

“We believe that collaboration with friendly countries and international partners to face various challenges to achieve security, stability and peace has become a necessity,” the Minister of Defense stated while adding that the investments in these strategic sectors are inadequate to provide for disagreements and conflicts between partners.

“Such projects are complementary in nature and inter-dependent in various parts of the industry to reduce cost and increase production and ensure quality. Any conflict among the partners may lead to economic loss and lack of stability.”

By 2030, the AI is expected to contribute $320 billion to the GDP of the Middle East, while $57.6 billion will be invested in the technology globally by 2021.

The two-day virtual Global Aerospace Summit Abu Dhabi will be addressed by experts in the fields of defense, aerospace and emerging technologies including Ahmad Al Ohali, governor of the General Authority for Military Industries of Saudi Arabia; Sarah Bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of UAE space agency; Khaled Abdulla Al Qubaisi, CEO for aerospace, renewables and ICT at Mubadala Investment; Faisal Al Bannai, CEO and managing director of Edge; Tony Douglas, CEO of Etihad Airways and James Taiclet, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Cooperation in the aviation and defense industries is essential not only for the development of the local economy but also for the establishment of security and stability for the country, said Mr. Mohammed Ahmed Al Bouardi.

The UAE aviation sector provides for 800,000 individuals employed at different capacities with 5.8 percent average annual growth in traffic expected by 2037.

James Taiclet said that in the coming decades, the global rivalry would increase. He also added that “Economy is a national security issue and the peaceful nation must have the ability to produce cutting-edge technologies. UAE has made great strides in this”.

Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of UAE space agency Sarah Al Amiri elaborated that the next goal is to use the resources of the UAE space industry to grow and stimulate the growth of a vibrant private sector, focusing on the development of small and robust multiple-use satellites that will feed into the new space economy.

She said that in 2021, as the government becomes the custodian of the space economy, it will see a conventional government position in the space sector and encourage start-ups.

Khaled Al Qubaisi of Mubadala Investment Company said, “Electrified and hybrid aircraft soon to become a reality. Advances in self-diagnosis and self-healing material that can detect cracks and automatically patch them up will make travel safer. We are slowly seeing progress towards hypersonic travel. We are getting closer to reality”. He continued to suggest that air travel continues to boost performance, cost and competitiveness.

Edge’s Faisal Al Bannai stressed the importance of local production following a pandemic that limited imports of materials. He said the aerospace sector is developing and projected that the drone industry is here to stay and expand.

Al Bannai said, “Drone is a massive industry with 70 percent of production for military purpose and 30 percent others. In the future, it is going to much more AI into drones”.

He further added, “By early next year, the UAE will be launching several platforms in this regard. UAV, drones and autonomous capabilities are strategic need for our future. We are a small population and we want to use technology to be among the leading nations in this capability. There will be several announcements in this field”.