ABU DHABI: His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, called for all investment to be directed at developing the digital sphere during his session at the International Defence Conference 2019, held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The Tamazun Economic Council and IDEX LLC, an Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) group company, organised the event under the theme of ‘Shaping Our Shared Future: Strengthening Our Security and Prosperity through Innovation’. The two-day global forum discusses the latest developments in the defence, security and offset sectors and the potential impact the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) may have on these domains in terms of innovation, manufacturing and human capital development.
Leading an IDC Talk on ‘Artificial Intelligence and Innovation’, His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama said: “If we want to be ready, if we want to innovate and if we want to be pioneers in the age of artificial intelligence, all investments need to go into the digital sphere.”
Addressing an audience of over 1,200 defence ministers, senior government officials, high-ranking military officers, eminent academics and leaders of renowned defence companies from around the world, he illustrated how threats in the digital age have evolved. He said: “Cyberattacks used to be aimed at corporations or individuals. Today they are targeting energy grids and sensitive information from the defence department. We might actually enter into World War Three through the digital sphere. It would be a war that would not be felt by any one of us but would have huge economic, emotional and psychological impact on the lives of billions of people. Cyberattacks today already impact the lives of three billion people across the world.”
His Excellency added: “We need to get the human capital ready. Artificial Intelligence is an incredible technology with incredible capability. But we will not be able to get it to the level that we want to get it at if we do not create the systems internally. Keep in mind that no country is going to sell you an AI system that is going to protect you against its systems. The only way forward, for any country, is to become an exporter of AI systems for defence and offence rather than a country that imports these systems. We need to create this talent at the grass-root level and create systems that will allow us to become pioneers in the future.”
The day one agenda featured another IDC Talk on ‘Future World in Light of 4IR’ and three panel discussions headlined by renowned industry and innovation leaders and academicians.
The other key areas the conference will focus on are offset, security & stability, and economy.
This year’s conference also serves as a precursor to the 2019 edition of IDEX/NAVDEX being held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 17 to 21 February. Occurring biennially, IDEX/NAVDEX are held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.