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UAE Minister of AI believes EXPO 2020 will inspire change

The UAE’s Minister for AI Omar Sultan Al Olama has openly expressed his belief that EXPO 2020 will be the greatest exhibition in its decorated and storied history. EXPO 2020 is expected to have a $30bn ripple effect if it is as successful as being projected.

Al Olama said, “EXPO 2020 will leave us with an historical element. Historically it has inspired change. The very first EXPO presented a vision of motorways and highways, and was revolutionary at the time. So it has always inspired. We will reinvent that inspiration by presenting a vision of the future. It will also be the most inclusive EXPO ever hosted. We’re excited about it and are driven by a desire to host the greatest ever EXPO.”

The charismatic AI Minister made the prediction during a fascinating and in-depth one-on-one panel discussion with CNN’s John Defterios, at the inaugural AI Everything event which is being held at the Dubai World Trade Center.

Al Olama backed up his EXPO 2020 claims by illustrating how Dubai has a proven track record of always delivers on its ambitions, he citied its success in tourism and aviation as an example.

The Minister for AI said, “When Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said he wanted to make Dubai a global tourism hotspot, people laughed at him. They said you’ve got no architecture, artefacts or greenery here. Why would anyone want to come? But now Dubai is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The same applies to aviation. Our leadership had a vision to create one of the best airlines in the world, and they achieved that with Emirates, which is recognized as a leader in air travel. So we’ve got a track record of delivering on our goals, however ambitious and unrealistic they may appear to some.”

Al Olama also highlighted how the UAE’s regulatory framework was a key component in the success of its private sector, and believes this environment is perfect to drive and grow their AI vision.

When pressed on the job dislocation the implementation of AI is set to have, he countered by saying that the emergence of new technologies had always caused disruption, but insisted that incredible new jobs would be created through AI.

He said, “Traditionally there is always job losses as technologies emerge, and societies evolve, we’re entering a period which has been labelled The Fourth Industrial Revolution, but we shouldn’t be afraid of the future. AI and other technologies are going to replace mundane jobs through automation. A series of new and exciting jobs will be created through AI, some we’ve haven’t even heard about. Can you imagine in the 90’s telling people that they could become social media influencers. They wouldn’t be able to comprehend what you were telling them, and that will be the same with AI.”

He conceded that in relation to job displacement a process had to take place which measures the impact the integration of AI is going to have on industries. “We need to map out what the job loss versus the impact. If we improve efficiency by 1% is it worth the disappearance of 100,000 jobs. It may have a major economic boost for a particular organization, but we have to leverage it against what is good for society. Technology has to be used to improve people’s lives, and that is what I believe AI will do.”