Under the direction of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the UAE in partnership with the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics launched today a new council that will offer advice on the best ways to use robotics and artificial intelligence to improve people’s lives.
The council, which will also create educational materials and help chart a global action plan in its specialty, will be managed by the UAE Prime Minister’s Office and will meet annually to pursue a broad range of initiatives.
Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Mohammad Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs for the Federal Government of the United Arab Emirates, said: “Humanity is on a journey. There are milestones on this journey - from the discovery of fire, to the invention of agriculture, to the industrial revolution. Robotics, automation and artificial intelligence are the next major steps in this voyage.”
H.E. Al Gergawi added: “There is no limit to imagination. There is no limit to hope. Here in the UAE, we believe in giving opportunity to everyone, and in using technology to help people achieve their dreams.”
The founding members of the Council comprise leading researchers and innovators from the world’s best universities, companies and organizations, including University of California, Berkley Carnegie Mellon University, KAIST, University of Southampton, American University of Beirut, Climate Bridge Ventures, Universal Robotics, Scuola Superiore, Sant'Anna, Khalifa University, Machine Intelligence Research Institute, University of Lisbon, and many others.
The council announced as its first initiative the UAE “Robots for Good” Award, building on the successful UAE “Drones for Good” Award which received 800 submissions from 62 countries around the world in its first edition.
The goal of the UAE “Robots for Good” is to encourage research and application of innovative solutions to challenges in three areas: Health, Education and Social Services. Winning submissions will provide real services that improve people’s lives, ranging from hardware to software intelligence and artificial agents.
The Award will be opened for submission in February, 2015, at the Government Summit in Dubai, UAE, with members of the Council forming the Judging Committee.
Other initiatives of the Council will include educational conferences, the use of robotics in UAE schools and universities, and leading policies on the humanitarian and positive uses of robotics and artificial intelligence.
Commending the UAE government for launching the council, Dr. Corinna E. Lathan, Chair, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, said: "We are pleased to collaborate with the UAE to develop a test bed and global action plan that will have measurable economic and policy impact, as well to encourage public understanding and awareness of the positive potentials of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics."
Professor Stuart Russell, Smith-Zadeh Chair of Computer Science at the University of California, Berkeley, said: “The UAE recognises the potential for artificial intelligence to bring unlimited good to humanity, and is challenging all of us to bring our best ideas to reality.”
Professor Dame Wendy Hall, University of Southampton, UK, said: "I'm delighted to be part of this initiative which reflects the increasingly significant role that automated systems will play in all our lives and the need to harness the benefits for society as well as recognise the challenges. The vision and leadership shown by the government of the UAE to inaugurate this Council will be an inspiration to the world."
Describing the value of organizing a competition with educational opportunities, community outreach, and scholarly conferences, Professor Justine Cassell, Associate Vice-Provost for Technology Strategy and Impact at Carnegie Mellon University, said: "This is indeed a reflection of the UAE’s focus on creating hope and opportunity for all of Dubai's citizens - now and far into the future.”
David Peters, CEO of Universal Robotics, said: “As a worldwide logistic hub, the UAE recognizes that the expansion of artificial intelligence and robotics has broad reaching implications to improve the efficiency and safety of the supply chain.”
While Professor Jong-Hwan Kim of KAIST University said Robot industry will become a new economic growth engine, Alex Wyatt, founder of the Climate Bridge group of companies in China, said: “The decisive and visionary way in which UAE is embracing the future in the field of AI and robotics is extremely impressive, and I'm delighted to be joining the Council.”