Testimonial Ling Shao

Why is AI so important for the United Arab Emirates?

“AI is revolutionizing the world and quickly becoming the future of humankind. The United Arab Emirates recognizes the great opportunity and responsibility that comes with this, and has the vision of using AI as the soft power that will enable its sustainable development and boost its economy in a broad range of areas, from healthcare, to transportation, to education. With a clear and ambitious AI strategy, the UAE hopes to secure a leading role in the AI supply chain among Middle Eastern countries and launch itself as a global innovation hub.”

What kind of research within AI is IIAI focusing on?

“IIAI is focusing on both fundamental and applied research in a broad range of areas, from machine learning to computer vision and healthcare. We aim to remain at the forefront of AI research, pushing the boundaries of AI knowledge and capabilities, while using this knowledge to develop new technologies that can be put towards solving real-world problems.”

What will surprise us the most in AI over the next five years?

“AI will surprise us in a number of areas. In particular, though, AI technologies will revolutionize the whole healthcare system over the next five years, even more dramatically than what we saw during the information age. For instance, with the help of AI, we can already spot cancer in its very early stage, simply by a quick body scan and analysis of a patient’s health record data. This allows faster, more efficient treatment that provides a significantly higher chance of survival.”

What is the biggest misconception about AI?

“One of the biggest misconceptions about AI is that it is synonymous to deep learning. Although deep learning has certainly achieved tremendous success in many areas, such as image recognition, it is by no means the only form of AI. Many people think deep learning can do everything but, in reality, it can only solve certain problems that rely heavily on representation learning. As such, it is a common consensus that deep learning is not the approach to achieving artificial general intelligence – AGI.”


Professor Ling Shao is scientific director of AIM Lab on behalf of Inception Institute of Artificial Intelligence (IIAI). Shao is CEO and Chief Scientist of IIAI.