The United Arab Emirates appointed the world’s first Minister for Artificial Intelligence yesterday.

27-year-old Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama (pictured below) was named the State Minister for AI in a cabinet reshuffle announced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE.

Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama

“We want the UAE to become the world’s most prepared country for Artificial Intelligence,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

Al Olama was previously the Deputy Director of Future Development in the Prime Minister’s Office and is also Managing Director of the annual World Government Summit.

The Prime Minister also announced a new portfolio of Advanced Skills, charged with ensuring citizens have skills for future jobs – particularly with the rise of AI. “Advanced technology will create new jobs and make half of existing jobs redundant within just ten years,” he added.

Earlier this week, the country launched a new AI strategy to improve government performance. For instance, the government is looking to use AI to reduce traffic accidents, minimise chronic diseases, run space experiments, manage energy facilities, and improve the quality of water and environment.

UAE wants to be a “major hub” for developing AI technology and legislation by 2071. “We are seeking to adopt all tools and methodologies related to Artificial Intelligence to expedite and ensure more efficiency for government services at all levels,” Sheikh Mohammed said.