UAE's biggest company is adding an AI-powered observer backed by Microsoft to its board

Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Co. is adding an AI-powered observer to its board, a move that the $238 billion firm said will help human board members make better strategic decisions. 

The virtual entity — Aiden Insight — will take an observer seat on the board of IHC, which is the largest listed firm in the United Arab Emirates. Aiden will be able to “continuously process and instantly analyze decades of business data, financial information, market trends, and global economic indicators,” IHC said in a statement. 

The unusual initiative, backed by Emirati AI company G42 and Microsoft Corp., deepens Abu Dhabi’s push into AI. The UAE wants to to become a global leader in testing and regulating AI technology, a minister told Bloomberg this month, echoing remarks from OpenAI Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman. 

G42 has been at the forefront of the country’s AI efforts. Its partnerships include one with OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, which is teaming up with the Gulf firm as part of an expansion within the UAE and the broader region. OpenAI has held discussions with G42 to raise funding for a new chip venture, Bloomberg reported last year.

IHC has also been making inroads into the sector, and formed a joint venture with India’s Adani Group to explore artificial intelligence and other technologies. G42 and IHC are both part of a $1.5 trillion empire controlled by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan — the UAE’s national security adviser and brother to the country’s president.

Aiden Insight’s role will include risk assessment and compliance monitoring, according to a statement on Monday. It will attend IHC board meetings as a non-voting observer.

IHC is not the first company to turn to AI. Hong Kong’s Deep Knowledge Ventures used an algorithm called VITAL that a managing partner said helped the board make more “logical decisions.”

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