Abu Dhabi will have world’s first dedicated artificial intelligence university
In an effort to become a world-leading AI-based society, the UAE has unveiled the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), the world’s first AI-focused postgraduate institution.
As of September 2020, the university will open its shiny new doors to a plethora of international and local masters and PhD students. The university will have the focus on the following three areas of artificial intelligence: machine learning, computer vision and natural language processing.
Machine learning is the field of study that studies how systems and computers can learn from data, identify patterns from that data and therefore perform tasks and calculations without human input.
Computer vision is the scientific field that deals with how computers can come to understand information and data within images and or videos shown to do. It aims to automate tasks that would ordinarily require human vision.
Natural language processing is the method in which to program computers to study, process and analyse vast amount of language.
The singular-focus university is hoped to help propel the UAE economy into an era of automation, AI, robotics and gradually become a knowledge-based economy. This effort is in line with the beliefs of Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, the royal the university is named after. His Highness sees the benefits of knowledge and scientific thinking to help progress the UAE.
The nation’s government has an overarching goal dubbed ‘UAE 2031’, a mission to introduce technology and AI into the country to make key sectors more prosperous and efficient. Namely the sectors of space, water, education and energy. It also feeds into the ‘UAE Centennial 2071’ mission to make the UAE the greatest country on Earth by that year.
According to a report this year (2019) from Oxford Economics, robot installations around the world could boost the global GDP by 5.3% in 2030. “This equates to adding an extra $4.9 trillion per year to the global economy by 2030 (in today’s prices) — equivalent to an economy greater than the projected size of Germany’s,” the report said.
Much like the introduction of electricity, interconnectivity and transportation lines have transformed the landscape of modern civilisation, it is believed that AI can have the same transformative effect in propelling the world into the next echelon of modernity.
“The invention of electricity, the railroad, smartphones all transformed the world as we knew it. AI can lead to an ever-greater societal and economic transformation,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the MBZUAI board of trustees.
Talent and academic institutions are essential, he said. “The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence is an open invitation from Abu Dhabi to the world to unleash AI’s full potential.”
The university’s founding board of trustees contain pioneering experts in the field. They include MBZUAI interim president, Professor Michael Brady, who teaches oncological imaging at the University of Oxford; Prof Anil Jain, a lecturer at Michigan State University; Dr Kai-Fu Lee, a technology executive and venture capitalist based in Beijing; and Prof Daniela Rus, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Professor Andrew Chi-Chih Yao, Dean of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Information Sciences at Tsinghua University in Beijing and Peng Xiao, CEO of Group 42 according to The National.
The university will also team up with Abu Dhabi’s Inception Institute of Artificial Intelligence, a research lab which will supervise students, provide insight into research programmes, and help construct the curriculum.
“Following decades of research into machine learning and artificial intelligence, we are now at a turning point in the widespread application of advanced intelligence. That evolution is – among other things – creating exciting new career opportunities in nearly every sector of society,” said Prof Brady, interim president of MBZUAI.
Check out the official website here.