UAE’s business leaders graduate from MBZUAI artificial intelligence programme

Pioneering course gave participants glimpse of how AI could be used in their organisations

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Artificial intelligence could soon be used to tailor UAE government employees’ working hours to their own personal productivity.

The initiative, which is being studied by the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources, is one of a host of practical applications for AI in everyday life.

On Tuesday, 41 business leaders who took a three-month course at Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence celebrated their graduation.

They were brimming with ideas of how to transform their places of work.

Quote
It is an general artificial intelligence crash course for all topics.
Eric Xing, MBZUAI President

Shayma Al Awadhi is director of human resources at the management system Bayanati at the Federal Authority for Government Human Resources.

She said she will use the skills gleaned on the course for a project of hers that measures employees’ productivity.

“One of the main projects that I’m currently working on is an application called Motamaken, which basically is a productivity calculation platform that uses artificial intelligence to analyse your work trends,” Ms Al Awadhi said.

“So, for example, you could be more productive after working hours, or you could be more productive during working hours, and what affects your productivity,” she said.

The course aimed to support UAE government and business sectors. Participants were required to complete 12 rigorous weeks of coursework, lectures and collaborative project work.

Dr Jamal Al Kaabi, undersecretary at the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi, joined the programme after the Covid-19 pandemic made him realise the potential of artificial intelligence.

He believes wearable technology and AI could be crucial in providing home services and follow-up care for the elderly.

The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence in Masdar City. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

“We came across one important project, which was to utilise artificial intelligence to help us read X-rays for the patient because most of the physicians were busy during Covid-19,” Dr Al Kaabi said.

“I’m a physician by education but I want to add knowledge as an undersecretary of the Department of Health.

“I want to understand how I can use AI in the future, not only for diagnosis but also for treatment.”

Dr Al Kaabi said remote follow-up could become widespread, with sensors used to feed data back to care services.

“For example, having sensors on the legs of the elderly that can predict falls,” he said.

The group are the first to graduate from this “executive programme”, which was delivered at weekends by MBZUAI instructors and international counterparts from Harvard University, the University of Oxford, MIT, Carnegie Mellon University and the University of California, Berkeley, among other prestigious institutions.

It also featured visits to Abu Dhabi National Oil Company; Emirates Post; G42; DIFC FinTech Hive; the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre; and Al Ain Zoo. Site visits were geared to demonstrate ways in which AI has been used in each organisation.

“Right now, it is a general artificial intelligence crash course for all topics,” said Dr Eric Xing, president of MBZUAI.

“But if we have a large demand at the same time from the healthcare sector or from the national security sector, then there will be a reprogramming. That’s something we are experimenting with.”

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and chairman of the Board of Trustees of MBZUAI, said the programme demonstrates the UAE’s commitment to building a community of future innovators and leaders.

“The skills and knowledge they have gained will enable them to incorporate innovative AI solutions within their organisations, enhancing their performance and competitiveness,” said Dr Al Jaber.

“Integrating AI applications throughout organisations in the public and private sectors is an important step to achieving the vision of our nation’s leadership, as outlined in the UAE National Strategy for Artificial Intelligence 2031.”

MBZUAI was established in 2019. Its aim is to attract students from around the world to study AI and support the UAE’s diversification.

Admissions for the executive programme’s autumn intake are open. More information can be found at www.mbzuai.ac.ae.

Updated: March 22, 2022, 3:46 PM
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