Every one of the 7.5 billion people on the planet today will spend 30 years of their life on chores and labor that will soon be automated by artificial intelligence (AI). It’s a figure derived from ancient Greek philosophy, specifically in Plato’s Timaeus, but in the context of modern times, it’s an oracle on the value of untapped human capital in the knowledge economy.
Clear leaders will emerge in the global race to revolutionize how –and why– we use our time, and the UAE has made a strong claim for first place with the recent announcement of its artificial intelligence strategy.
Positioned between the existing AI hubs of Singapore and Switzerland, the UAE, specifically Dubai, will pioneer AI in all government and private sector activity, within the UAE Centennial 2071 objectives.
The strategy is the first of its kind in the world to promote government performance and create an environment for innovation through direct investment across multiple domains. It follows adoption of the Emirates Science, Technology and Innovation Higher Policy in 2015, which includes 100 national initiatives in education, health, energy, transportation, space and water, and it is central to the attainment of economic objectives under Vision 2021.
When the UAE looks to the future, it sees robot police personnel, flying taxis and the world’s first blockchain government. Yet beyond the flash, the real focus falls on Vision 2021’s drive to reduce economic dependence on oil to 0% by 2050, and place the UAE at the center of the global economy for tourism, trade, Islamic finance, science and tech. This is a springboard for AI technologies to revolutionize productivity across all sectors in a new economic environment.
The tools are available. The UAE enjoys both economic openness and regulatory agility, and it has the ability to attract talent from across the world, as reflected in new, skill-based visa rules announced earlier in the year.
Under the new, dual-purpose AI strategy, the UAE will place itself as a leading destination for AI investment, while creating a new, high-value domestic market. It is here, leaders from other hubs, such as my company, Demiurge, can add value, paving the way for the UAE to become the world’s first AI-driven knowledge economy with smart robotics and smart medicine at its core.
The UAE’s applications will span both physical and mental AI, across transport, health, space, renewable energy, education, technology, water, environment and traffic. With these elements in place, AI will stimulate economic productivity in the UAE and transform the very meaning of human work– these are the areas in which science has proven to be the most powerful engine of sustainable, robust economic growth.
Much like Moore’s Law, Plato unwittingly outlined the future role of humanity, and, in the simplest terms, our time was, and still is, valuable. Soon, instead of delegating certain roles to other humans, a strategy he observed as essential to safeguarding free time, we will have the technology to implement AI-based solutions, instead.
With their extra 30 years, the inhabitants of ancient Athens built a knowledge economy that laid the foundations of modern civilization. They invested their time in splendid buildings, magnificent art, profound literature, fundamental philosophies, scientific disciplines and active citizenship.
If we, like our ancestors, can also free up 30 years per lifetime, imagine how much human -and financial– capital can be freed in business and what this will mean for efficiency in systems, processes and manufacturing. At Demiurge, our mission is to enable everybody to unlock this time, affording people the ability to pursue the things that make them happy, and direct human capital towards scientific discovery, economic prosperity, and the advancement of human civilization beyond imagination.
Bragi Lovetrue will be attending the Naseba MENA Private Equity and Venture Capital Summit on October 31, 2017, discussing the readiness of Dubai for AI implementation.