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Thousands apply to Abu Dhabi AI University in first week

Artificial intelligence university in Abu Dhabi gets more than 3,000 applications in the week following its application process being opened

More than 3,000 potential students applied to join Abu Dhabi’s artificial intelligence (AI) focused university in the first week that applications were open.

Most of the applications to Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) came from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Egypt, India, and China.

MBZUAI, based in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, aims to enable students, businesses and governments to increase the use of AI technology. It is the first university focused only on AI.

The current applications are for the academic year 2021-2022, with the first students expected to start in September 2020.

UAE minister of state, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, said the level of interest in such a short time is a very encouraging sign.

“MBZUAI is attracting prospective students from around the world, affirming the UAE leadership’s vision of investing in human potential and enabling societies through knowledge and education to find practical solutions to some of the biggest challenges in the world, and further establishing the UAE and Abu Dhabi as a global hub for innovation and higher education,” he said.

MBZUAI will offer MSc and PhD level programmes in key areas of AI, such as machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing while also engaging policymakers and businesses around the world. The university will provide all admitted students with a full scholarship, plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance, and accommodation.

The UAE is investing in becoming a global pioneer in the use of AI technology in various sectors of its economy. In 2017, it set its sights on developing AI skills as part of a strategy to reduce its economy’s reliance on oil, which has driven the UAE economy for 40 years.

The country created the world’s first “minister of AI”, along with an AI strategy that is leading the transformation of multiple sectors, such as transport, education and healthcare.

The UAE has poured billions of dollars into AI investment and tech startup incubation funds, including the $270m Dubai Future Endowment Fund.

AI augmentation is expected to generate $2.9tn in business value globally by 2021 and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity, according to research firm Gartner.

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  • Alphabet’s DeepMind company loses millions of dollars each year, but it appears the research firm’s AI advances are so valuable that Alphabet finds it worthwhile anyway.       

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