Dubai appoints 22 Chief AI Officers in Government to drive AI-led exponential transformation

In June 2024, H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, appointed 22 Chief Artificial Intelligence Officers (CAIOs) across various government entities in Dubai, who will spearhead specialized plans and programs in the field of AI and advanced technology.

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.

“We have approved the appointment of 22 Chief AI Officers across government entities in Dubai as part of a forward-looking vision aimed at leveraging AI to enhance government operations. This initiative will enhance Dubai’s progress and expertise in this sector and consolidate its position as a leader in creating innovative solutions built on advanced technology,” His Highness Sheikh Hamdan said.

“The accelerated adoption of AI, alongside the development of its tools and applications, represents a cornerstone of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, aimed at positioning Dubai as a global hub for the development and deployment of AI solutions.”

The Chief AI Officer position was established under the Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence (DUB.AI), designed to enrich the quality of life and well-being of residents. Additionally, it supports Dubai’s endeavour to become the most future-ready city, consolidating its leadership as a global hub for technology and innovation.

A Chief AI Officer (CAIO) plays a pivotal role in shaping and implementing an organization’s AI strategy. They evaluate the organization’s AI capabilities, identify areas for improvement, and develop a plan for achieving AI maturity. The CAIO is responsible for leading change management efforts, which include providing training and workshops to cultivate a culture of innovation. They ensure the strategic integration of AI into various workflows and processes and stay abreast of the latest technological advancements to maintain a competitive edge.

Moreover, the CAIO addresses the risks associated with AI, such as ethical considerations and compliance with data protection regulations. They also facilitate collaboration across departments to ensure AI initiatives support the organization’s overall objectives.

Digital Economy Advocate Bashar Kilani, Founder, AI360 Innovations (UAE, left)

By deploying AI-driven solutions, CAIOs help optimize processes, reduce expenses, and improve the quality of public services.

For instance, AI can be leveraged to analyze extensive datasets, enhance decision-making, forecast trends, and automate routine tasks, allowing human resources to focus on more strategic activities.

Today July 2, 2024 I spoke with Digital Economy Advocate Bashar Kilani, Founder, AI360 Innovations in the UAE and a former Accenture and IBM executive, to discuss these appointments and more.

Bashar mentioned that the naming of 22 government CAIOs is the most recent example of how the region has been a pioneer in AI.

For example:

  • In 2017, the UAE appointed the world’s first Minister for AI in government. Omar Sultan Al Olama is Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications in the United Arab Emirates. He was appointed by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
  • In 2019, they founded the world’s first university dedicated to the study and advancement of artificial intelligence, The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
  • In April 2024, Microsoft invested $1.5 billion in Abu Dhabi’s G42 to accelerate AI development and global expansion. According to Microsoft, “This strategic investment will enhance the UAE’s position as a global AI hub and provide further opportunities for partners and customers to innovate and grow. G42 and Microsoft will collaborate to ensure the benefits of secure AI technologies and cloud capabilities are responsibly shared with growing economies globally. Microsoft’s Vice Chair and President Brad Smith will take a seat on the G42 Board. Both companies will support the establishment of a $1B fund for developers.”
  • In May 2024, they announced the Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence (DUB.AI), which is designed to accelerate the adoption of AI. “A key goal of the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33) is to double the size of Dubai’s economy over the next decade and to consolidate its position among the top three global cities. It seeks to achieve the targets outlined in D33 by contributing AED 100 billion annually to Dubai’s economy, increasing its productivity by 50 per cent through the implementation of innovative digital solutions. The agenda includes over 100 transformational projects. The Gulf nation estimates that by 2030, AI will have a global market value of $15.7 trillion, boosting the UAE’s GDP by 35 percent and reducing government costs by 50 percent.”
  • In June 2024, they anounced the appointment of 22 Chief AI Officers in critical government positions (see list below).

According to Bashar, core pillars of the DUB.AI blueprint include:

  1. Infrastructure: cloud, cybersecurity, compute capabilities, etc. Bashar feels that the UAE may have one of the best digital infrastructures in the world.
  2. Legal: A framework of laws around the digital economy which makes it an attractive place for new businesses and startups.
  3. Talent: Building universities and campuses, and providing “golden” and “digital nomad” visas to attract world-class talent.
  4. Ecosystem: Building the ecosystem for startups and large companies alike, including a vibrant VC community with the stated goal of having at least 10 unicorns in Dubai between now and 2030.

Bashar concluded by stating that “The best examples of how organizations are embracing AI will come from this part of the world.

The newly appointed Chief AI Officers represent several government entities across Dubai including:

  • Community Development Authority in Dubai
  • Dubai Government Human Resources Department
  • Dubai Customs
  • Dubai Police
  • The Judicial Council
  • Dubai Civil Aviation Authority
  • Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment
  • Dubai Electricity and Water Authority
  • Digital Dubai Authority
  • General Directorate of Civil Defense in Dubai
  • Dubai Data and Statistics Establishment
  • Dubai Health Authority
  • Public Prosecution
  • Protocol Department in Dubai
  • Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority
  • Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
  • Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University
  • Dubai Department of Economy and Tourism
  • Dubai Corporation for Ambulance Services
  • Department of Finance in Dubai
  • Endowments and Minors’ Trust Foundation (Awqaf Dubai)
  • Dubai Municipality

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Join Kashi KS, the Chief AI Officer at Alfahive in this interview with David Mathison, CEO of the CDO Club and CDAO/CAIO Summits, as Mathison shares his 5-year journey of building the world’s  first and largest community of Chief AI Officers. They discuss the growing demand for innovation, transformation (both digital and exponential), and how CAIOs are using AI to improve productivity and enhance ROI.

Listen on Amazon Prime, Spotify, Apple:

Watch below or on YouTube:

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If you are interested in a Chief AI Officer or CDAO role, be sure to reach out to us!

Want to learn more, and meet some US federal CAIOs in person?

Join our 11th CDAO Summit2nd Chief AI Officer Summit Tue-Wed October 1-2, 2024. 

Delegates, speakers, and sponsors can participate in one or both events.

Register NOW at either site below:

Over the course of two days, you’ll meet the following speakers (more to come!):
  • Angela Cough: Senior Advisor, Digital Talent, Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office, U.S. Department of Defense
  • Anthony Scriffignano: Distinguished Fellow, Alfred Lee Loomis Innovation Council, The Stimson Center
  • Austin Gerig: Chief Data Officer, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Brian Peretti: Deputy Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer and Director Domestic and International Cyber Policy, U.S. Department of the Treasury
  • Daniel Bernard: Chief Product and Technology Officer, Hearst Magazines
  • David Chivers: Former President, Publisher, CDO at WSJ, Dow Jones, USA Today, Gannett, Des Moines Register, Meredith Corporation
  • David Mathison: CEO, CAIO Summit/CDAO Summit; CDO Club
  • Diane Staheli: Assistant Director, AI Applications, Office of Science and Tech Policy, The White House
  • Dr. Delester Brown Jr: Chief Data Officer, National Guard Bureau
  • Dr. Mike Horton: Deputy Chief Data Officer, US Department of Transportation (DOT)
  • Florin Rotar: Chief AI Officer, Avanade
  • Iwao Fusillo: Global Head of Data & Analytics – eCommerce, PepsiCo
  • Marie Falkowski: Deputy IC Chief Data Officer & Deputy ADNI for Data & Partnerships, Office of the Director of National Intelligence
  • Mark Brady: Deputy Chief Data Officer for TRMC, KBR, Inc.
  • Marc Lavallee: Director of Technology Product and AI Strategy/Journalism, Knight Foundation
  • Mark McCreary: Partner, Chief Artificial Intelligence & Information Security Officer, Fox Rothschild
  • Paul Evangelista: Chief Data Officer, U.S. Military Academy at West Point
  • Sonal Shah: CEO, The Texas Tribune
  • Spence Green: CEO, Lilt
  • Tanya Dua: Technology Editor, LinkedIn
  • Thomas Sasala: Deputy Director, Office of Enterprise Management, U.S. Army
  • Vinay Vijay Singh: Chief AI Officer, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Vivian Schiller: VP and Executive Director, The Aspen Institute
  • Yudong Cao: Chief Technology Officer, Zapata AI
  • More to come, stay tuned! 

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