Opinion: The Future of artificial intelligence in the UAE

UAE continues to show signs of audacious shifts in the rule of law to make innovation and investment in artificial intelligence
Chris Schroeder, author of ‘Start-up Rising’ and panel moderator at GITEX Future Stars
By Kay Marham
Tue 12 Sep 2017 02:56 PM

Chris Schroeder, author of ‘Start-up Rising’ and panel moderator at GITEX Future Stars, answers three quick questions on artificial intelligence (AI) in the UAE, tech entrepreneurship and disruption opportunities.

You’re moderating a panel about artificial intelligence at GITEX Future Stars. Why do you think that Dubai and the UAE can emerge as a hotbed for AI innovation?

Three things are in favour for Dubai and the UAE as a hub for any innovation in the Middle East and other growth markets. The country continues to show signs of audacious shifts in the rule of law to make innovation and investment in AI ever easier and more reliable.

There is a real network effect of talent in both Dubai and the wider UAE - the best from the region go there, which attracts more of the best.

Dubai in particular is a hub of start-ups that are creating unique data sets solving unique and large problems that are ripe for machine learning.  

What are some of the challenges facing entrepreneurs when trying to create an AI start-up in the region?

The speed and power of what is happening in AI in Silicon Valley is profound, and China as well -- so finding differing and scalable paths to maximise these new technologies will be essential. Many start-ups will simply partner with US companies, which can be fine. 

What other regional industries are ripe for technology disruption? What are some of those obvious start-up opportunities you see?

Every industry is facing new opportunities as well as threats. The key, in a way, is to focus as much on the former being aware of the ramifications of the latter.

From a start-up perspective I still love businesses in emerging growth markets that are solving hands dirty, complicated challenges in the physical world and layer on technology (or near universal access to technology) to scale rapidly. I see some intriguing ones in ag-tech, logistics and last mile delivery, healthcare and more.

If I were starting my career now I'd shore up my maths and statistics skills, expose myself to as much data science as I could and think big about what is being unleashed by AI, VR, robotics, innovations in health like genomics, and absolutely blockchain. But I'd still study history, push myself to write, and think critically!

Chris Schroeder will be moderating several panels between 8-12th October at GITEX Future Stars.

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