I Ruled as the World’s Initial AI Minister


  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a hypothetical technology but one that requires government time and resources for regulation.
  • Potential harm from unregulated AI is significant, and traditional models of governance and regulation are ill-equipped to deal with its rapid development.
  • Regulating AI requires a fundamental reimagination of governance that is agile and multilateral.
  • A consensual framework of universal basic laws for AI should be established to guide legislation and ensure AI is always in service to human values.

I Was the First AI Minister in History

Omar Sultan Al Olama, the United Arab Emirates’ Minister for Artificial Intelligence, reflects on the importance of government regulation in the field of AI. Olama, who was appointed as the world’s first Minister for Artificial Intelligence in 2017, acknowledges that AI is no longer a hypothetical technology but one that requires significant government attention and resources. He compares the advancements in AI to the evolution of transportation, stating that the human mind will be surpassed in both speed and complexity by AI computation.

While recognizing the exciting potential of AI, Olama also emphasizes the need for regulation to prevent potential harm. He highlights historical examples of catastrophic events leading to the regulation of technology and warns of the potential for an AI disaster on an unprecedented scale. The impact of such a disaster could range from the paralysis of critical infrastructure to cyber threats resulting in substantial loss of human life.

According to Olama, traditional models of governance and regulation, which take years to formulate, are ill-equipped to handle the rapid development of AI. He argues for a fundamental reimagination of governance to be agile and multilateral in its implementation. He cites Elon Musk as an example of someone who both alerts to the perils of unregulated AI and utilizes it to drive human progress.

Olama calls for a rational, simple, and measured approach to AI regulation that does not stifle innovation or adoption. He suggests adopting a set of universal basic laws for AI, similar to Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics, that prioritize human values and prevent harm to humans. He believes that these laws, rooted in shared humanity, can guide decision-making in ethical dilemmas posed by AI.

Lastly, Olama urges global cooperation in the establishment of a consensual framework of universal basic laws for AI. This framework would serve as a foundation for various legislations, including intellectual property and computational carbon footprint, and ensure that AI regulation is conducted in a collaborative and effective manner.