QCAI releases National AI Strategy for Qatar”

By Lokendra Chauhan| Qatar Center for Artificial Intelligence


Qatar Center for Artificial Intelligence (QCAI) has drafted and released the “National Artificial Intelligence Strategy for Qatar”. The objective of this document is to inform and advise Qatar’s leadership on AI’s potential and a path ahead for Qatar.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a phenomenon is getting much attention for its potential to impact every aspect of our lives. The sustained increases in the amount of investment from both public and private sectors, and in the interest from researchers, entrepreneurs and corporations, provide a clear indication that AI will be a very critical source of growth in the future.

Cognizant of AI’s importance, in the last two years many countries have officially released their strategies for how they plan to make the best of this AI revolution that we are witnessing. It is also important because losing in the AI race could result in economic disadvantages for communities and countries. At the same time, being able to successfully capitalize on AI could lead to huge productivity gains and prosperity for the citizens of those nations.

This AI race is often framed as a contest between the US and China, or sometimes among the US, EU and China, as Bloomberg News said recently(1). While the US and China are important players and AI leaders in their own right, it would be too early to call this race, and so far there are no clear criteria to leverage AI. Therefore, it make sense for nations to define their North Star for AI through national AI strategies and then move forward in those directions. Also, these strategies serve the purpose of identifying the priorities for allocating their resources.

These developments emphasize the need and urgency for Qatar to articulate its vision for building a nation in which AI is pervasive in all aspects of life, business and governance; and to establish Qatar as a global role model. With these considerations, QCAI is launching a blueprint for a potential national AI strategy of Qatar.

QCAI has proposed 6 pillars for a national AI strategy of Qatar and the key recommendations for each of these pillars are as follows:

  1. Talent: Build a nurturing and attractive ecosystem for developing and upgrading local talent in AI and attract international researchers and entrepreneurs. to come to Qatar and grow.
  2. Data access: Data is the key strategic resource underpinning AI technology. Qatar should develop its policy on data generation and access that will balance the trade-off between ensuring privacy and respecting cultural norms while allowing its use for creating innovative and customized solutions for its citizens. It should also initiate and lead multilateral diplomatic efforts for data-sharing for inclusive growth in AI globally.
  3. Employment: AI will transform the current state of employment across the world. Both blue collar and white collar jobs will be affected. The government of Qatar needs to appoint a task force to study how the workforce in Qatar will be impacted by the emergence of AI technology, and a plan for leveraging these changes to realize QNV 2030.
  4. Wealth Creation: Qatar should position itself as the most attractive destination to build and grow AI businesses. Make investments in people, cloud infrastructure and take a lead in international issues surrounding AI like policy creation, standards and protocol setting to ensure a level playing field for all stakeholders. Use AI to increase returns through efficiency gains and new revenue-generating opportunities in Qatar and around the world.
  5. Transforming Qatar into an AI + X nation: The AI enabled future will lead to a “winner takes all” paradigm. Qatar needs to make research investments in areas of strategic importance and where the country enjoys a “natural advantage” including: Arabic content businesses, oil & gas, healthcare, national security, transportation and health.
  6. Thought Leadership in AI Ethics: Develop an “AI Ethics and Governance” framework that is rooted in local context and aligns with international norms. As AI expands into all aspects of life and society its impact on policy and ethical issues related to governance, law & order, health, and warfare requires thoughtful debate and leadership.

Click on the link to read the proposed blueprint for “National AI Strategy for Qatar”.

Update: Later on October 29, 2019 this document has been adopted and officially announced by the Qatari government as the National AI Strategy for Qatar.

(1) https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2018-12-28/artificial-intelligence-is-new-space-race-for-eu-u-s-and-china

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