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27 February 2024

'I love it!': 14-year-old tech prodigy thrilled with UAE's AI portfolio

By Wam

It all started when he was only five years old. "I used to watch my father working on computer programming every day. So I wanted to know more about it," Tanmay Bakshy, the world’s youngest Artificial intelligence, AI, scientist told Emirates News Agency, WAM.

"So I fell in love with computers at five, released my first iPhone app at nine, and now at 14 I am working with IBM on Artificial Intelligence," added the prodigy, who is now in the UAE attending the now-running International Government Communication Forum, which was opened early today by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah.

"It is not my first visit to UAE, but my first visit to Sharjah. I visited Dubai three times before and attended the Dubai Health Forum, and Dubai Knowledge Summit and now I’m here for the International Government Communication Summit," Tanmay added while expressing his happiness about UAE having a minister for AI.

"I actually love it. Having a minister for AI proves that artificial intelligence affects every single detail in our lives on a daily basis. And actually yes it does. If you open your mobile or Twitter, or go for Amazon.com, etc., you’re actually using AI. AI is an integral part of our life and over the coming five years, we will see tremendous growth. It’s quite important for the UAE and to every country in the world to be on the cutting edge and to make sure it remains updated on the latest technology and such a portfolio is the tool for that."

In October 2017, the UAE appointed Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama as the country’s first Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence.

About the possibility of having AI schemes in UAE, Tanmay informed that he is working on a project focused on mental healthcare, with an objective of providing early warning of depression in teens.

"I have not talked to any officials in the UAE in specific but I’d love to and I’m discussing the idea with some companies and I’ll be happy to bring the idea here to the UAE."

Tanmay disagrees that AI will ever replace humans. "AI will never replace humans, but using AI helps us get the best out of humans. Artificial communication should be used to enable those who cannot communicate naturally. AI is going to empower rather than weakening us. Artificial intelligence means augmented intelligence. Actually, the world needs more programmers. We should rather enable children to innovate and have access to the growth of 4th Industrial Revolution technology."

However, the prodigy kid does not deny AI will replace some jobs. "I believe some will lose jobs but those jobs to be replaced by AI will have a direct impact on our health, for example, and will help us do better. In the meantime, AI opens up new jobs and helps us do our job easier, accurately and more properly. Many problems could be solved through AI, for instance, delivering healthcare to remote places," he enthused.

Tanmay laughed when asked about rumours that he has been hired by Google. "Actually I was surprised to hear that I have been hired by Google. A lot of people think I’m working with Google but I’m not. It started when some people took a picture of mine and wrote down that I’m hired by Google for two million dollars per year. But I’m not."