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UK tech secretary visits UAE to build AI ties 

Image credit: shutterlk / Shutterstock

The UK and United Arab Emirates (UAE) will explore ways to collaborate in AI research and investment as part of the tech secretary’s visit to the Middle East this week.

Tech Secretary Michelle Donelan is today visiting the UAE and over the two-day trip will discuss deepening ties between the two countries for AI development.

Donelan will meet with government officials and members of industry and academia in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as part of the UK’s wider attempts to forge international AI partnerships. Discussions will centre around compute capacity, digital skills, R&D and investment.

“My visit to the UAE marks the beginning of a new chapter to deepen AI collaboration,” Donelan said.

“The country’s early recognition of AI’s transformative potential and their commitment to safety positions them as an important partner for the UK as we advance the global conversation on safe and responsible AI development.”

The UAE, the UK’s largest trading partner in the Middle East, has previously pledged to invest £10bn into British clean energy, tech, life sciences and infrastructure through the Sovereign Investment Partnership.

The nation also had a presence at the UK’s AI Safety Summit and was among the 28 countries to sign the Bletchley Declaration – a pledge to collaborate on AI regulation and safety.

The summit was attended by His Excellency Omar  Sultan Al Olama, who in 2017 became the UAE’s minister of state for artificial intelligence – the first person to hold such a role in the world.

Donelan and Al Olama will hold further discussions during the visit following their meeting at the AI Safety Summit.

“I am looking forward to laying the foundations which will allow us to explore new investment opportunities, how we can continue to develop world-leading talent, and the adoption of AI technologies, paving the way for stronger ties in this generation-defining technology,” Donelan added.

It is the latest move by the government to build tech ties on the global stage. Last month, the UK and Canada signed a joint agreement to collaborate on AI research and compute infrastructure development.