Thursday 02 December 2021 - 1:06:11 pm

UAE’s AI economy opens opportunities for further collaboration with US: State Dept. official

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By Binsal Abdulkader

DUBAI, 25th October, 2021 (WAM) -- The UAE moving towards an Artificial Intelligence economy gives more opportunities for the US to strengthen the existing bilateral relations, a senior US official told Emirates News Agency (WAM).

"I think all these emerging technologies give us an opportunity [for the US and UAE] to strengthen the bilateral relationship. AI is an area that the US is a leader in and it helps both investments and innovations to come out. The UAE positioning itself as an AI economy gives us again another opportunity to strengthen that relationship," said Thomas Debass, Managing Director of the Office of Global Partnership at the US Department of State.

"There is a lot that we can contribute to [the UAE’s AI economy] in terms of experiences and investments, but there is a lot that we can learn as well," added the official responsible for coordinating the Department’s private sector engagement efforts and providing thought leadership on partnerships related to economic growth, global finance, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Debbas pointed out that the White House has launched the National AI Initiative by putting together a legislation on AI governance.

AI is so powerful and its governance has to be done carefully and transparently from a data privacy and humanity perspective, he stressed.

"I think there is a lot of international cooperation that can emerge out of that. The UAE is lending itself to be a leader in that space. We are already a leader. How do we form into collaboration to make sure that the next generation of AI comes to serve the humanity and make us prosper better and to address the challenges that we face such as COVID-19, climate change and others," the official continued.

AI has greatly contributed to tackle COVID-19 with the rapid research on vaccines, and using it for contract tracing, education and public health, Debbas said. "We have already seen its promise. The question now is ... how does AI help us create efficiency from a climate change perspective, in creating tech technologies, energy management and all those types of things?"

The US official emphasised that now the deployment of AI has to be scaled up. "I think AI is going to need a platform to scale up and I think that is where I see the opportunity for collaboration between the US and UAE," the official said at the US Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai.

The US Pavilion has captured the spirit of America’s diversity, prosperity, innovations and its promises into the future. "The Expo gives you an opportunity to see what these countries are all about, especially the common bond that we have in humanity’s perspective. It is just amazing."

He regularly gives lectures and talks about the intersection of policy, business and society. Prior to joining the State Department, he was Lead Economist/Deputy Director in the Office of Investment Policy with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). He has also served as a senior technical advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

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WAM/Binsal AbdulKader/Lina ibrahim