Dubai's Smart Lab accelerates AI move

Dubais Smart Lab accelerates AI move
Dr Aisha bint Buti bin Bishr speaks during the workshop organised by the Smart Dubai Government Establishment on Monday. Dubai has to redefine government and embed artificial intelligence inits services to move towards the future, says Dr Bin Bishr. - Photos by Shihab

Dubai - In later stages, the lab will be open to researchers, students and the public


Sherouk Zakaria

Published: Mon 27 Mar 2017, 6:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 27 Mar 2017, 10:38 PM

 Dubai'ss first Artificial Intelligence (AI) Smart Lab will accelerate its way towards becoming the smartest city of the world, it was announced on Monday.
During a workshop conducted by the Smart Dubai Office, Smart Dubai Government Establishment (SDG) launched the lab in line with the leadership's UAE Centennial 2071 that aims at making the UAE the best country in the world in the next 54 years.
The lab, operational from next month, will train over 200 government employees and some officials from private sector to implement AI and cognitive computing within their fields.
In later stages, the lab will be open to researchers, students and the 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."
The AI Smart Lab, established in collaboration with IBM, will develop skills and train individuals, provide tools for experimentation and prototyping and provide market support through implementing ideas into practical application.
Wesam Lootah, CEO of SDG, the technology arm of Smart Dubai Office, noted that AI teams will be established on April 15. Within the month of April, AI ideation workshops will be conducted. In May, the SDG will establish a Smart Dubai AI Roadmap to implement technological solutions across the city.
"We want 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, noting that AI helps humans to make better decisions.
In October 2016, SDG launched 'Saad,' the city's first government service utilising AI to help entrepreneurs and investors to ask questions related to setting up a business in Dubai. Achieving more than 30,000 hits within the first three months, Lootah said SDG is looking to develop Saad into becoming Dubai's official concierge that will help citizens and tourists navigate across Dubai.
"The lab will help us achieve that and make Saad Dubai's artificial digital assistant," he said.
Meanwhile, Bin Bishr highlighted the importance of collaborating with the private sector to implement AI. "Although government was introducing services with new technologies, we were more often competing with private sector rather than working together."
She noted that government-private partnership has been successful in providing shared services and saving the government millions of dirhams.
"Now we face new challenges and to sustain our transformation, we must find new ways of working together to serve residents and visitors," said Bin Bishr.

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