Starting off the five-day GITEX Technology Week are conferences focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity, with experts emphasizing resilient and future-proof technology.

The Gulf Information Security Expo & Conference (GISEC) section of the 2020 GITEX examined traditional cybersecurity threats coupled with the global coronavirus pandemic challenges have become significant factors in the development of newer systems. Data posted on its official conference program webpage notes the record spike in cybercrimes, with organizations falling prey to these attacks rising from 78 percent to 80.7 percent.

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Positioning UAE as a Cybersecurity Leader

Dr. Mohamed Hamad Al-Kuwaiti, Head of Cyber Security for the UAE Government, shared his insights about the current cybersecurity landscape and the efforts taken by the United Arab Emirates to shield itself in the post-pandemic world - most notably with the use of AI tools to augment its capabilities.

"It is important to build a culture of readiness, and that is why the National Cybersecurity Council was established by the nation's leadership," Dr. Al-Kuwaiti said. He further explained the value of "public-private partnerships with industry vendors" in boosting the Arab nation's digital security. In his talk, the UAE cybersecurity head also cited the finance and health sectors as among the most targeted by attacks, with phishing and ransomware remaining the top strategies used by hackers.

In July 2020, Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum headed the launch of its Dubai Cyber Index, an initiative to attain the highest standards of cybersecurity through healthy competition among solutions providers in the region. "One of the key objectives of our Cyber Security Index is to enhance the readiness of government entities to deal with various cyber threat scenarios," explained Dr. Marwan Alzarouni, director of Information Services from the Dubai Electronic Security Centre (DESC) - the agency behind the development of the Dubai Cyber Index.

In promoting higher benchmarks to strategically position UAE as a cybersecurity leader, Dr. Alzarouni explains that the Cyber Index "measures the performance of government entities in several areas, including the rapid response to security alerts, the number of incidents resolved, and the amount of data associated with the Security Operations Centre,"

Addressing Bias in AI Models

While AI models have been important in pushing the limits of technology, it remains largely limited by one persisting problem - AI bias. Artificial intelligence, despite having speed and steep learning curves that have long surpassed manual methods, ultimately remains dependent on human-generated inputs and training models. The type and accuracy of data used to train AI models would later affect their behavior and subsequently, their results.

IBM Cloud and Cognitive Software Chief Data Officer Dr. Seth Dobrin and Smart Dubai Assistant Director-General and Dubai Data Establishment CEO Younus Al Nasser addressed the 2020 GITEX attendees and discussing the AI developmental challenges.

"We are trying to create a trust for AI," Nasser began. Noting that AI has a lot of "positive applications," Nasser stressed that "there needs to be transparency and we need to explain how data is being used to build this trust."

If we want to make Dubai the happiest city in the world, we need to explain to people what AI does." Nasser noted.

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