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Fear shouldn’t overtake rationality in approach to artificial intelligence, says UAE AI minister

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, UAE AI Minister Omar Sultan Al Olama discusses how states should govern the technology and whether fears about machine intelligence are founded.
Omar Olama

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Global governments must neither ignore the dangers of artificial intelligence nor be blinded by optimism around the technology, the United Arab Emirates' new AI minister told Al-Monitor.

“Talking about the governance of AI and trying to boil the ocean by regulating everything that has the word AI in it is a non-starter,” said Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, in an exclusive interview in Dubai.

Olama, who at age 28 became the world’s first AI minister, is concerned that fear may be playing too big a role in the public discourse about artificial intelligence. Governments must understand the concerns and optimism around AI without “worrying too much about one side or the other,” he said.

“Should governments go into a cocoon, fearing for their safety and completely isolate AI as a responsible way forward? Absolutely not. Should governments be blinded by the optimism and not care about any of the impacts of this technology? Absolutely not,” he added.

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