The United Arab Emirates is shifting rapidly towards the artificial intelligence revolution. This shift is expressed by numerous decisions taken by the highest U.A.E. political authorities. For example, on 16 October 2017, the Sheikh Mohamed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president of the U.A.E. and ruler of Dubai, appointed Omar Bin Sultan al Olama as minister for artificial intelligence (AI) of the Union. This appointment, in itself a world first, was followed up by the publication of the U.A.E. Strategy for Artificial Intelligence (“UAE looks to artificial intelligence to prepare for the future”, The National, October 16, 2017, and “UAE strategy for artificial intelligence”, Governement.ae).
This singular political move is inscribed in the emergence of what Helene Lavoix identifies as “AI Governance”, i.e. the “intersection between AI development and politics” (“When artificial intelligence will power geopolitics – Presenting AI”, The Red Team Analysis Society, November 29, 2017). This institutionalisation of the “U.A.E. AI governance” as a key and central component of theU.A.E. grand strategy expresses the way the Emirates are starting to elaborate their development into an AI-driven sustainable power. In other terms, AI is becoming the cornerstone of a new definition of development and power for theU.A.E., in a world of climate change and limited resources.
In a first part, we shall study how AI is going to be used as a driver towards a more sustainable model of development. Second, we shall see how this shift towards sustainability is integrated to the way the Union is already starting to answer its coming oil depletion and its water needs. Finally, we shall see how this move towards artificial intelligence integration is already used to support the U.A.E. grand strategy of becoming a power through its adaptation to new energy and planetary conditions.
About the author: Jean-Michel Valantin (PhD Paris) leads the Environment and Geopolitics Department of The Red (Team) Analysis Society. He is specialised in strategic studies and defence sociology with a focus on environmental geostrategy.
Featured image: Dubai aerial by Nino Verde (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.