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Microsoft to open 'AI Centre of Excellence' to rev up innovation across energy sector

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is set to open an ‘AI Centre of Excellence’ in the UAE early next year to drive digital transformation in the energy sector.

The adoption of artificial intelligence is gaining traction in the UAE and it is set to go further as Abu Dhabi has established the world’s first graduate-level and research-based AI university at Masdar City.

Meanwhile, the UAE is rolling out a wave of AI-focused research institutes, university degrees, boot camps, and already has a Cabinet position for AI to boot.

AI has become an evident priority across industries with new technologies being introduced at an incredibly fast pace but the world needs more human capital in the field of AI to bridge any possible gaps.

To bridge the gap, Microsoft’s centre will equip with necessary AI readiness towards closing the skills gaps and enhancing employability workforce with AI skills, as well as collaborating on coalitions to address sustainability and safety challenges.

It is supported by partners that include ABB, Accenture, AVEVA, Baker Hughes,, Emerson, Honeywell, Maana, Rockwell Automation, Schlumberger and Sensia.

Omar Saleh, Microsoft’s Head of Energy and Manufacturing for the Middle East and Africa region, said that Microsoft’s mission is to empower every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more,” said.

“We believe in the power of AI to drive business transformation,” he said.

Potential of AI is not a gimmick at all

According to research firm International Data Corporation, the AI investment in the Middle East is expected to be $263 million this year compared to $200 million last year, a quarter of the investment is coming from the UAE. This investment is expected to grow between 25% and 30% annually.

Sam Blatteis, CEO of The MENA Catalysts, said that many believe there may not be a single technology that will shape our world more in the next 50 years than AI, the potential of AI is not a gimmick at all.

“Rather, it has rapidly evolved into the hottest area in legislation in the Gulf. How we legislate AI will become one of the defining themes of the next five years.

“We need to set strategic ‘rules of the road’ from the start — not to over-regulate, but to provide regulatory predictability to attract expertise, ideas, and capital,” he said.

Blatteis said that equally important, “long-term, we have to reinvent education. The world of commerce and business has changed rapidly, but that education outcomes are not keeping up,” he said.

“If the Gulf is to develop knowledge industries of the future, education here must be reimagined. We have to think about how we can ‘hack education’ to reprogram our education system, change course and plot a new education strategy.

“We should be teaching physics to kindergartners, robotics and computer programming in every school. There are many bright teachers but not one is trained to teach about the future. The basis of AI and computer programming has become a realm of creativity and wild ideas in a bid to achieve the Gulf’s long-term plans beyond the usual m-Government, e-Government and general ICT plans,” Blatteis said.