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AI key to securing technologically advanced future for Oman: Expert

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to play a pivotal role in addressing national challenges and empowering every citizen in the Sultanate of Oman, particularly in light of the government’s strong focus on sustainability and innovation, says a leading Omani expert on digital transformation.

In a recent exclusive interview with Oman Daily Observer, Laila al Hadhrami, former Smart Cities Development Manager at the National Energy Centre, stressed the need to drive AI adoption to help secure a technologically advanced future for Oman.

Sharing her vision for Oman’s path towards AI-driven progress, the well-known tech futurist emphasised the importance of fostering collaboration in research, innovation, and digital inclusivity. By leveraging AI responsibly, Oman aims to unlock economic growth, optimise resource utilisation, and steer the nation towards a prosperous future. The recent emphasis on the national strategy for the Digital Economy and AI, highlighted in His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik’s address, provides a significant boost to Oman’s aspirations in responsible AI development and implementation, she said.

In her capacity as Executive Director, Laila al Hadhrami aims to position the Oman IT Society (OITS) as a key player in promoting technological excellence and inclusive growth across Oman, particularly focusing on AI awareness and education. Through initiatives like the OITS Ambassadors program, volunteers are actively engaged in raising awareness about AI through free monthly lectures and workshops on AI and emerging technologies across Oman. This initiative is aimed at bridging the knowledge gap and dispelling misconceptions surrounding AI, ensuring that every Omani citizen is equipped with the necessary understanding to navigate the evolving technological landscape.

However, Oman faces pressing issues in raising awareness about artificial intelligence, including educational disparities, misconceptions, and language barriers, according to the expert. Comprehensive educational initiatives, workshops, and transparent communication are essential to overcome these challenges. The OITS Ambassadors programme, with its focus on promoting AI literacy and engaging stakeholders from government, academia, industry, and civil society, plays a crucial role in addressing these awareness challenges and fostering a culture of collaboration and innovation in the AI domain, she stresses.

Collaboration across government, academia, industry, and civil society organisations is deemed critical in fostering responsible AI development initiatives and policies in Oman. Establishing platforms for dialogue, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration can build understanding and garner support for sustainable and ethical AI practices, ultimately empowering Omani citizens and driving progress towards a future where AI serves as a transformative tool for prosperity and development.

In the pursuit of sustainable cities, community empowerment emerges as a key strategy in driving sustainability and environmental stewardship. Al Hadhrami’s vision is centered on empowering communities to actively participate in the planning and implementation of initiatives that promote environmental stewardship and social equity. By fostering a culture of sustainable awareness within communities, individuals can play a crucial role in shaping their cities and contributing to shared environmental and social goals.

One prominent example of community engagement and sustainable practices leading to positive urban development outcomes is found in the city of Nizwa in Oman. Nizwa, known for its rich historical heritage, transformed abandoned clay houses into heritage inns, revitalising the economy, generating employment opportunities, and preserving the city’s unique character.

Al Hadhrami’s involvement in establishing Al Dakhiliya Global Development & Investment reflects a commitment to translating Oman Vision 2040 into actionable initiatives, empowering governorates to lead sustainable projects, attract investments, and enhance the quality of life for citizens across Oman.

As Oman continues its journey towards a sustainable and technologically advanced future, collaboration, community empowerment, and innovation will remain the cornerstones of progress, shaping a nation that is resilient, prosperous, and inclusive. By embracing the principles of Oman Vision 2040 and harnessing the power of AI and sustainable practices, Oman is poised to realise its vision of a brighter and more sustainable future for all its citizens.