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Oil-rich Abu Dhabi wants to be an AI leader. Aligning with the US is just the start

·1 min

The world’s first minister dedicated to developing artificial intelligence (AI) strategy is embroiled in a global power struggle for tech supremacy. In April, Microsoft announced a $1.5 billion investment in an AI group based in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, to limit Beijing’s influence in the region. The UAE wants to diversify away from oil and believes that AI could contribute $96 billion to its economy by 2030. The country aims to be a global leader in AI by 2031 and has set objectives to deploy AI in priority sectors, develop an ecosystem, and attract talent. The UAE has had to prioritize its relationship with the US over Washington’s rivals. The Biden administration has implemented measures, including export controls on AI and semiconductor technologies, to slow China’s advancement in the industry. Some US politicians have raised concerns about potential Chinese espionage in the UAE. The UAE has unveiled a large language model called Falcon10B and an open-source generative AI model called Jais, positioning itself as an ally to developing nations. The country’s vast oil wealth is expected to play a key role in developing AI infrastructure. However, as the development and use of AI raise concerns, the UAE’s minister has called for a global coalition to regulate the technology.