Dr.Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr is the Director General for Smart Dubai

Dr.Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr is the Director General for Smart Dubai

What makes the Dubai AI strategy unique? How does it compare against those of other countries/cities?

In UAE, we not only have a citywide AI implementation road map, but have a National Artificial Intelligence & Blockchain Council who is responsible for the implementation of AI and Blockchain across all industry sectors in the country. We also have the world’s first elected Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence who is responsible to ensure the goals of the National AI & Blockchain Council are achieved.

Additionally, recently, Smart Dubai launched an Ethical AI Toolkit which consists of principles and guidelines for the ethical implementation of Artificial Intelligence. This is one of the first city-government endorsed AI principles and guidelines launched globally. As Smart Dubai we are not only deploying technology, but ensuring organisations that deliver AI services place a priority on fairness, transparency and accountability and that the guidelines serve to elevate the city’s position as a thought leader in in the adoption of AI across city services.

How well has the Dubai Data and AI Strategy helped the Government to achieve their Smart City goal for 2020?

Smart Dubai Data is a crucial part of Smart Dubai. It has a vision to make Dubai the happiest and smartest city on Earth by exploring and leveraging the power of emerging technologies. Smart Dubai Data’s job is to ensure the supply of data into our city data ecosystem and to make sure it is used in across initiatives such as data science, artificial intelligence or our ambitious blockchain strategy.

We think one of our distinguishing features from other world cities with similar data initiatives is the very serious and detailed work we have put into city-wide data policies. These flow from the Dubai Data Law which sets out Smart Dubai Data’s role and our influence over other public sector bodies, the private sector and the data they hold. Our policies also make crystal clear how these
organisations can manage, classify – as either open, shared, or confidential –prioritize and then share their data. 

Currently we have over 380 Data Champions across 55 entities, supporting our efforts to identify more than 2000 data sets across 14 different industry sectors ranging across transportation, economy, health, and energy. Over 270 of these are already available on Dubai Pulse, the city’s digital backbone and data store.

Artificial Intelligence
In 2016, we announced the first pilot application for what would become Rashid— the city’s AI enablement layer.

We were sure a lot of our entrepreneurial youth will look forward to opening their own business in Dubai, this is why during Rashid’s launch phase we teamed up with Dubai Economy where Rashid assisted all new entrepreneurs with details on documentation and legalities for opening a new business.

Due to the success of Rashid’s pilot phase, now Rashid can answer questions related to any government query you may have as a person ‘living in Dubai’. Visit Rashid.ae to learn more on this AI application.


In addition to Rashid, which is just one AI powered app, in March 2017 we announced our AI roadmap. Since then we have been working with our partners across the city to implement AI wherever possible across the city. We have identified 104 AI use cases, out of which we are currently implementing 43 -working with 13 government entities, spanning 10 industry sectors.

What role do entrepreneurs and start-ups play in advancing the AI Strategy and ecosystem in Dubai?

The private sector, be it established companies or start-ups play an extremely crucial role in the development of the AI roadmap of Dubai. With AI still recognized as an emerging technology, its true potential is only being unveiled by the several use cases and applications being created by the entrepreneurial and start-up community. As a matter of fact, one of the three prime roles of Smart Dubai is Ecosystem Enablement. Through education, training programs and accelerators we are inviting local and international entities to join hands with government to identify and develop AI solutions that can be deployed across the city.

In your opinion, what impact has the AI strategy and government agenda had on attracting investments from multinationals and AI start-ups from around the world to Dubai?

I am proud to say that as per a report published by the Financial Times in 2018, Dubai is ranked first globally in FDI Technology Transfer, which measures the extent to which FDI brings new technology to a location. Additionally, the same report also mentioned that Dubai is ranked third globally in attracting foreign direct investment into the field of AI & Robotics. I believe the investments being attracted to the UAE is a testament of our work on a national and city level.