Dubai Future Foundation Calls for United Global Front to Develop Generative AI

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Dubai is calling for a united front to spur the development of generative artificial intelligence to maximise its potential and reap economic benefits, the chief executive of the Dubai Future Foundation has said.

Countries need to come together to prepare society for the innovation and to help bridge the gap between policies and the advancement of the emerging technology, which has a reported business opportunity of as much as $4.4 trillion, Khalfan Belhoul said at the Dubai Assembly for Generative AI conference on Wednesday.

Mr Khalfan Belhoul, chief executive of the Dubai Future Foundation, called for a united front as the foundation launched the Dubai Generative AI Alliance of global technology companies.

The industries with highest AI potential include banking, software and platforms, energy, communications and media, and health, according to the DFF.

Mr Belhoul made his remarks as the foundation launched the Dubai Generative AI Alliance of global technology companies, which aims to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies and build one of the world’s most advanced and effective tech-enabled governments in line with Dubai’s digital ambitions.

The collaborative effort should bring together key segments of society, which include policymakers, the private sector, entrepreneurs and students, Mr Belhoul said.

“Regulation is extremely important. We need to understand how can we regulate something as big as generative AI. But we need to get started now and look at the challenges [and] understand the risks,” he said.

“The idea is to come up with some kind of an alliance with different partners from all over the world with clear, tangible outcomes of what needs to be done. Our intention is to continue those conversations, but come up with an alliance that also produces tangible results.”

AI has long been used by businesses in their operations, but it has gained momentum with the advent of generative AI, made popular by Microsoft-backed Open AI’s ChatGPT, which became a sensation as it is capable of producing various kinds of data, including audio, code, images, text, simulations, 3D objects and videos.

Generative AI’s potential in regional economies has already been flagged. GCC countries, for instance, are expected to reap about $23.5 billion in economic benefits by 2030 as investments in generative AI continue to grow, PwC unit Strategy& Middle East said in a report last month.

For businesses, the potential is immense. Generative AI could generate value equivalent to anywhere between $2.6 trillion and $4.4 trillion in global corporate profits annually in 63 use cases where the technology could raise productivity, a recent study from the McKinsey Global Institute said.

Verticals involved in this include interactions with customers, the generation of creative content for marketing and sales, and drafting software code based on natural-language prompts, among many other tasks, it said.

That would increase the value of productivity from AI and analytics by 15 per cent to 40 per cent compared to previous generations of the technology – an amount that would roughly double as generative AI spreads “more diffusely” across the global workplace, the global consultancy said.

Investors put more than $4.2 billion into generative AI start-ups in 2021 and 2022 through 215 deals after interest surged in 2019, recent data from CB Insights showed.

Globally, AI investments are projected to hit $200 billion by 2025 and could possibly have a bigger impact on gross domestic product, a recent study from Goldman Sachs Economic Research showed.

That study also indicated that AI investments will possibly take a few years to have a major impact on the economy, rising from a relatively slow starting point.

The technology could also raise global labour productivity growth by more than 1 percentage point per year in the next decade, according to Goldman Sachs.

The assembly also aims to support companies involved in generative AI, including by connecting them with investors and venture capitalists, as well as helping them work with government agencies, Mr Belhoul said.

“How can we accelerate their ideas so they can become something positive for AI? This is something maybe easier said than done, but entrepreneurs are very ambitious; they need to move fast,” he said.

“They have very high burn rates. They need investment and we need all those components to be the catalyst for them.”

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