The United Arab Emirates has announced that it is pursuing two national initiatives in the fields of blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI).
As per reports, the UAE government is looking to strengthen the country’s position as a leading player in the world in relation to the adoption of emerging technologies.
According to a report in the Emirates News Agency, the UAE Government Annual Meetings’ second conference in Abu Dhabi ended with an agreement to focus on emerging technologies via a program dubbed “the AI and Blockchain Guide initiative.”
The program is intended to provide the country (the federal governments) with a standardized approach to defining blockchain technology and AI.
Accordingly, the AI and Blockchain Guide will be implemented across all the smart cities in the seven emirates. On top of that, the initiative will look to ensure that all relevant authorities are familiar with the two technologies.
Having a common understanding of the two concepts is a crucial step in the UAE’s push to have them adopted across government functions.
More importantly, it will help streamline the program’s workings because the program will bring different individuals together, many of whom will have scant knowledge of blockchain technology or even far less of AI.
Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, the country’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence has said that the government wants to have AI and blockchain technologies in use in all vital sectors of the economy, including health and education among others.
He added that the UAE is actively seeking cooperation and partnerships, which will be developed between the government and federal or local entities.
The country also wants to forge partnerships with global companies and startups with the aim of finding “effective and innovative solutions” that positively impact development.
Blockchain to power 50 percent of government transactions
The UAE government has reportedly set its sight on having half of all government operations powered by blockchain technology by 2021, according to the Emirates News Agency.
Similarly, Abu Dhabi has put forth a blockbuster ambition, with the expectation that rapid growth and adoption of AI and blockchain technologies will see it become the global leader by 2031.
The Emirati government also launched “the National Programme for AI and Blockchain Capacity Building,” an initiative whose primary objective is to further the AI and blockchain technology sectors via scholarships and other educational programs.
The initiative will be facilitated via partnerships with the ministry of higher education. The program will see the government roll out various short courses and educational programs that will help Emiratis play a growing role in the two sectors.
Initiative to support laid-off workers
Blockchain technology and AI will also come with potential job losses, as it is wont to happen when technology begins to take root.
The “capacity building” program will be tasked with the responsibility of identifying those sectors likely to face job losses when the government begins to adopt blockchain technology and AI.
The task force will is required to work towards a smooth reduction of the people working in these fields. The initiative has been mandated to retrain those workers that lose their jobs due to the new technology. This will help those laid off find alternative employment.
The UAE government has moved to have blockchain and AI adopted throughout the country, but these efforts could find a lot more impetus with input from the private sector.
One of the notable private enterprises to partner, the government, was NMC Healthcare. The company collaborated with UAE Telecom early last year in a move that saw the healthcare provider use blockchain to store its patients’ records.
The UAE has also moved to encourage the local entrepreneurs who wish to use initial coin offerings (ICOs) to raise funds for projects. In October last year, the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority (ESCA) announced that ICO regulations would be ready within the first six months of 2019.
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