The UAE’s total investments in various artificial intelligence (AI) programmes are expected to reach AED33bn ($8.9bn) by the end of 2017.

According to a report by UAE state news agency Wam, the country’s investments on AI have been growing by 70 per cent annually over the past three years.

Wam did not provide specific details on the breakdown of investments.

The report cited Abdullah Alfan al-Shamsi, assistant undersecretary for industrial affairs at the Ministry of Economy, who said that the UAE has been among the first countries to realise the central importance of AI to build a knowledge-based economy that adopts scientific research.

On 9 September, Dubai launched Service 1, a one-stop shop that utilises artificial intelligence to deliver services from 14 government departments.

Located at the Emirates Tower, the centre is manned by a single employee and utilises an AI platform provided by US-based IBM Watson as well as robots. It is able to process queries in English and Arabic through a touch-screen and record suggestions and feedback.

The centre is also able to provide access to more than 100 government services offered by the following government agencies:

  • Interior Ministry
  • Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation
  • Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme
  • Emirates Post Group
  • Ministry of Infrastructure Development
  • Ministry of Climate Change and Environment
  • Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development
  • Telecommunications Regulatory Authority

The services rolled out in the first phase of Centre 1 include registering new-born babies (mabrook ma yak), weddings (mabrook ma dabrat) and employment services.