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One Easy Way To Strengthen the Abraham Accords? Artificial Intelligence | Opinion – Newsweek

It has sometimes been said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. That, in essence, is precisely what Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) have done in introducing the “United States-Israel Artificial Intelligence Act. The bill, submitted June 17, envisions the establishment of a joint artificial intelligence (AI) research facility by the United States government, and it will provide $50 million for it over the course of five years.
The bill’s goal is to “leverage the experience, knowledge and expertise” of educational institutions and private businesses in the United States and Israel to pursue machine learning, image classification, object detection, speech recognition, natural language processing, data labeling, computer vision and model explainability and interpretability.
Sen. Rubio stressed that the United States, and indeed the world, “benefit immensely when we engage in joint cooperation and partnerships with Israel, a global technology leader and our most important ally in the Middle East,” while also arguing that these bilateral research ties will help both nations stay ahead of China’s ever-growing technology threat.
Why is AI so important? Essentially, the sheer volume of data generated on a daily basis eclipses our ability to digest it and then make appropriate decisions based on that data. AI is one of today’s most important tools and assists us in keeping up the pace to make critical decisions. But the data inputs grow ever larger and appear ever faster. Thus, significant efforts need to be put into developing faster and better AI tools. The race to absorb, interpret, understand and make decisions on data, as well as our ability to simply keep up, may be never-ending. Sens. Rubio and Cantwell should thus be commended for their focus on this critical area.
Sens. Rubio and Cantwell should also be commended for recognizing Israel’s technological prowess and for creating a partnership with that crucial American ally. This bill is a great example of smart governance—recognizing an important need, finding a smart way to address it and finding top-notch partners to help implement the idea. Smart, efficient and beneficial: That’s how government should work. But here’s an idea that could make the future this bill seeks to create even brighter, smarter, more efficient and beneficial on many levels: Incorporate the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well.

The skyline of Dubai and the high Burj Khalifa are pictured after sunset on February 9, 2021.
The UAE has made significant strides in the area of AI since 2017, and it aims to be the world leader in AI by 2031. The UAE has the talent, drive and the funds to make this goal a reality. It has an AI ministry and has established goals of using AI in healthcare, aviation, education and other crucial areas. The UAE has proven itself to be a country that has big dreams and ambitions, and it succeeds in the realization of those dreams and ambitions—from developing massive, architecturally significant, beautiful cities out of the desert sands to successfully launching the Mars Hope Mission, the first unmanned interplanetary satellite the nation has spearheaded. Much can be learned from and gained by the United States and Israel if the UAE is folded into this meaningful partnership.
It is no secret that the Abraham Accords have very significant bipartisan support in the United States and have also attained significant worldwide support, including from many of our allies in the Middle East. Much has been said about encouraging more countries to sign onto the Abraham Accords—who is next to sign is still anyone’s guess—and to enhancing the already-established connections between the Abraham Accords signees.
Through the hard work of many, and through the courage and boldness of leaders in the Middle East, including Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Abraham Accords have taken root—and the sapling is sprouting healthy branches and flourishing leaves. For the Abraham Accords to amply flower, continue to thrive and grow even stronger, we need to provide the right conditions for it to establish deeper roots in rich, fertile soil. We need to tend to the Abraham Accords and the countries who have partnered on it with care, devotion and commitment.
What better way to travel further down the noble, imperative Abraham Accords path than by bringing the UAE into the mix? The “United States-Israel-United Arab Emirates Artificial Intelligence Center Act” has a great ring to it. Including the UAE would be a win-win, all around—for the further development of AI, for the United States, for Israel, for the UAE and for stability and cooperation in the Middle East. And including the UAE would embrace another reliable ally of the United States, the overall results of which also allow us and our allies to stay ahead of the curve against competitors.
Aside from the many benefits the bill itself could achieve by adding the UAE, such addition may even entice others to join the Abraham Accords. Humanity benefits tremendously from that. Any takers?
Jason D. Greenblatt served as President Donald Trump’s White House envoy to the Middle East for nearly three years. Follow him on Twitter: @GreenblattJD.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.