World Government Summit: ‘Data is a major influence on the decisions that UAE leaders take’



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Published: Sun 12 Feb 2023, 12:32 PM

Data is the new currency, and harnessing it could mean making or breaking a nation. This was the key takeaway during the Global Data Forum on Day 0 at the World Government Summit (WGS) on Sunday.

“Data has been a major influence on the decisions that are taken by our leaders, whether it is in the government or private sector. These are called creative decisions,” said Abdulla Lootah, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Competitiveness and Experience Exchange, during a session titled ‘The Power of Data in Decision-making’ at WGS.

He elaborated how these creative decisions were at the heart of the country’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. “Data is the basis of information,” he said. “Information is the basis of knowledge, knowledge is the basis of wisdom, and wisdom is the basis of a successful nation.”

Meanwhile, Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology, stressed the importance of the right way to collect data. “The question you need to address becomes very important,” she said. “Understanding where you want to head and what data needs to be collected, how it needs to be stored, what technologies are required to bring it on board, the level of granularity that is needed … are necessary to create transformative changes.”

Al Amiri also spoke about how all technology has some kind of bias. “We see that today even the much-lauded ChatGPT is a biased system. It does have constructs that have been put into it that are considered biased and not all-inclusive,” she said.

She went on to stress the importance of inclusivity in data. “Technology needs to be inclusive and realising the potential of data needs to be inclusive,” she said. “Having access to data needs to be inclusive. The processes that needs to go towards transformation need to be inclusive.”

She called for the global community to be inclusive in this aspect. “From access to utilisation, to security, to the means and technologies and the know-how and experiences that are required to use those data – [all these] need to [be] inclusive,” she said. “Otherwise, whether we like it or not, we will leave more than half the world behind if we proceed [with] the same mechanism.”

Held under the theme of ‘Shaping Future Governments’, the WGS — which kicks off tomorrow — will bring together thought leaders, global experts, and decision makers from around the globe to share and contribute to the development of tools, policies, and models that are essential in shaping future governments.

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