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What to know about MGX, UAE’s latest AI investment firm

The launch of the AI-focused firm follows the UAE’s largest company appointing an AI bot to its board, as Abu Dhabi seeks to become a world player in artificial intelligence.
Women walks through the Museum of the Future in Dubai during the Artificial Intelligence Forum held on October 11, 2023. (Photo by Karim SAHIB / AFP) (Photo by KARIM SAHIB/AFP via Getty Images)

The United Arab Emirates announced on Monday a new technology company that will focus on artificial intelligence, further demonstrating the Gulf state’s AI push despite concerns about the technology’s use.

The UAE’s Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Technology Council unveiled MGX, a technology investment firm, according to a statement from the Abu Dhabi Media Office.

“The company will invest to accelerate the development and adoption of AI and advanced technologies through world-leading partnerships both in the UAE and globally,” said the office.

MGX will specifically focus on the following in its investment strategy:

  • AI infrastructure, including data centers and connectivity.
  • Semiconductors, including the design and manufacturing of chips.
  • AI-related technology, including AI models, software, life sciences and robotics.

The UAE sovereign fund Mubadala and the Emirati AI firm G42 will serve as “foundational partners” in establishing MGX, according to the statement.

Bloomberg reported earlier on Monday that MGX would target AI and semiconductors deals and could surpass $100 billion in assets within the next few years.

UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed established the Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Technology Council in January.

Why it matters: The UAE is seeking to become a global power in the field of artificial intelligence and created an AI ministry in 2017. The focus on AI is part of the Gulf state’s wider economic diversification plans and efforts to reduce dependence on oil and gas.

The launch of MGX is the latest in a series of AI-related developments in the UAE in the past few months. Last week, G42 and Kenya’s EcoCloud signed a memorandum of understanding toward establishing a data center in the East African country. Per the agreement, the two entities will work together on AI services and cloud computing, according to the official Emirates News Agency.

International Holding Company, aka IHC, announced last month that it appointed an AI-powered observer to its company board. IHC is the largest company in the UAE.

In December, the Emirati companies Yahsat and Bayanat launched the $4 billion AI-powered space technology firm Space42.

Meanwhile, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been seeking to raise billions of dollars for a chip venture and has held discussions with G42 to this end, Bloomberg reported the same month. OpenAI is the creator of the popular ChatGPT chatbot.

Know more: The UAE’s AI push has not been without controversy. G42 in particular has come under scrutiny from the United States for its ties to China. CEO Peng Xiao said in December that G42 would cut down on its use of Chinese hardware due to US pressure.

Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai last month, Altman said that AI has the potential to unintentionally disrupt society.

“I’m much more interested in the very subtle societal misalignments, where we just have these systems out in society, and through no particular ill intention, things just go horribly wrong,” he said.