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22 July 2024

Session of Omar Al Olama at AMF

By E247

- Seize the AI moment or risk being left behind, Omar Al Olama tells audience at Arab Media Forum
- His Excellency says AI is only in its infancy and holds out tremendous potential to change lives

His Excellency Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy, and Remote Work Applications, emphasised the need for everyone to constantly adapt and evolve with technology and make the best use of the tools it offers to avoid being left behind in the race. He was speaking during a plenary session on the second day of the Arab Media Forum.

During the session titled ‘Tech Updates in Media’ moderated by Dr. Mohamed Qasem, Dean, Dubai Future Academy, His Excellency said Artificial Intelligence (AI) will bring widespread changes across all sectors, including media. The capabilities of AI we see today are only just the beginning. We can write a note and AI can derive pictures from it and a video reproduction from the same note is probably about a year away, he said. So everything is bound to change as AI technology advances and it is best to prepare ahead for the new reality, he added.
The AMF, this year, was held under the umbrella of the Arab Media Summit, which also encompassed the Arab Youth Media Forum, the Arab Media Award, and the Arab Social Media Influencers Award.

On the concern voiced in many quarters about jobs being at risk from AI, His Excellency averred that he did not see such an eventuality unless, of course, people refused to change with the times. For example, creativity has been historically associated with drawing, he said. It was a talent that entailed a prohibitive cost in the form of sought-after colours like gold and red. Some 600 years ago, people started using oils and natural substances to paint, bringing down costs dramatically. The cost associated with art did not result in the number of artists going down. In fact, there have only been more of them over time.

This shows that methods might change and experiences might change, but the things humanity has been doing will still call for people who are adept at doing them in new ways.

Asked about the One Million Prompters initiative to prepare an AI workforce for the future, Al Olama said it would help boost creativity, helping build a futuristic economy. Jobs were created or lost depending on the level of creativity displayed by people and nobody could afford to be in denial of technology. A positive attitude is imperative to learn new things and if AI could be used to increase productivity, then that is the way to go, he said.

AI too would have its pitfalls but the UAE had always been proactive to enact timely legislations and frame regulations to deter unethical practices, he said. He said his expectation from the media as it responded to the AI revolution was to see a platform that can use the technology to generate content and, perhaps, even new platforms.

It was clear there were benefits as well as risks to AI and the UAE would always consider all aspects carefully and frame rules to regulate technology keeping in mind what would best serve its economic, social and political needs, His Excellency concluded.