How Will Dubai’s AI Initiative Impact Key Industries?
Mokshita P.
Artificial Intelligence

How Will Dubai’s AI Initiative Impact Key Industries?

New initiative by DFF and Meta to drive innovation with "LLAMA 3," aiming to add AED 100 billion through digital transformation and support startups in key sectors.

At the AI Retreat 2024, organised by the Dubai Center for Artificial Intelligence along with the National Program for Artificial Intelligence, there was an exciting announcement about a new business incubator program. This program is a collaboration between the Dubai Future Foundation and Meta, and it's aimed at exploring how Large Language Models can drive product and service innovation across various industries. The goal is to inspire impactful AI use-cases that use Meta’s open-source AI tools to solve real-world problems, generate economic value, and support overall economic growth.

The program will leverage Meta's latest AI model, "LLAMA 3," and has been well-received by industry leaders, experts, and global companies at the AI Retreat in Dubai. It particularly resonated with creative thinkers, tech entrepreneurs, and founders of startups and established companies that specialise in AI applications.

This initiative aligns with Dubai's broader strategy, the Dubai Universal Blueprint for Artificial Intelligence (DUB.AI), which aims to support the city’s economic agenda (D33). The goal is to add AED 100 billion through digital transformation and to increase economic productivity by 50 percent through innovation and digital solutions. By fostering an environment conducive to AI companies and global talents, the program seeks to position Dubai as a nurturing hub for AI innovation.

The business incubator program will promote collaboration and knowledge exchange in AI product development, enhancing innovation and competitiveness in entrepreneurial projects. It’s also expected to support the digital economy, which is projected to reach USD 780 billion by 2030.

Abdulaziz AlJaziri, Deputy CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, emphasised the significance of global partnerships in boosting the AI entrepreneurship ecosystem. He mentioned that such programs aim to create opportunities and provide a fertile ground for startups to grow rapidly, thereby supporting the overall innovation system and bringing innovative AI solutions to life for the betterment of humanity. This helps establish Dubai as a global testbed and vibrant environment for AI-based innovation and service development.

Joelle Awwad, Head of Policy Programs at Meta for Africa, the Middle East, and Turkey, highlighted Meta’s belief in openness and collaboration for the future of AI development. She stated that working closely with regional partners like DFF reflects Meta’s commitment to building awareness, enhancing capacities, and fostering practical innovation within the ecosystem, ultimately unlocking the true value of AI for businesses and society.

The DFF plays a crucial role as a strategic partner in this program by providing sector-specific consultancy and leveraging its existing networks and partnerships between the public and private sectors. This empowerment aims to support startups, offer spaces for talent development, and highlight promising projects.

This program is part of Meta's regional initiative to use its open-source AI suite to foster innovative solutions and activate economic opportunities, contributing to inclusive economic growth in Dubai and the region. It focuses on five key sectors: energy, transportation, aviation, tourism, and retail. The program involves four main stages: identifying corporate design challenges that can be addressed with LLMs; engaging relevant AI startups, scale-ups, and established companies; hosting these startups for a six-week journey at DFF focused on design thinking and rapid prototyping; and finally, announcing AI-based innovative solutions, exploring product development, and discussing investment opportunities.

In essence, this unique incubator program by Meta and DFF aims to use the open-source "LLAMA 3" model to develop beneficial AI applications across various sectors, fostering collaboration among innovators, creative thinkers, and technology entrepreneurs to create globally impactful solutions. 

The AI Retreat itself was held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and it brought together over 2,500 decision-makers, experts, and industry leaders. The discussions covered significant AI transformations, including policies, legislation, governance, the talent ecosystem, digital infrastructure, and developing data centre capabilities for AI uses.