The World Economic Forum at Davos shifts stances from year to year.
Last year’s theme strengthening global collaboration, restoring economic growth, reforming capitalism, and preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Davos 2017 was right before US president Trump was to take office on January 20, and his views about climate change had reverberated enough to warrant focused discussions at that time.
It’s a mute discussion today, after the US pulled out from the Paris Agreement on climate change on June 1, 2017.
In comes the UAE, with one of the most aggressive technology and energy efficiency agendas in the region.
And as if taking a page from that, this year’s Davos will witness a major shift with topics mainly focusing on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cybersecurity, Biotechnology, and Energy.
What’s on UAE’s agenda?
The UAE will send a high-level delegation to take part in the summit.
According to media reports, climate change, space exploration, artificial intelligence and the fourth industrial revolution will be some of the topics discussed by 12 Emirati ministers.
Mohammad Bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and The Future and Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, will sign an agreement to establish a centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) in the UAE.
Al Gergawi and Schwab will also sign a FIR agreement towards building a legal and organisational framework for the governance of information.
Why is the UAE focusing its topics of discussion mainly on technology and energy?
The country beat every other nation in the world when they appointed a minister for Artificial intelligence (AI) in 2017.
According to Futurism, a tech platform, the UAE’s AI strategy covers development and application in nine sectors: Transport, health, space, renewable energy, water, technology, education, environment, and traffic.
The UAE schools are now applying AI education by increasing the use of e-learning and virtual classrooms integrated with 3D demonstration bringing real life and industry examples.
The country’s first Robocop joined Dubai Police last year.
“Robocop’s first job posting are malls and tourist attractions where people can tap a touchscreen on his chest to report a crime, pay traffic fines or chat in Arabic or English,” according to media reports.
Also, Dubai Municipality recently announced that it has selected Nexthink as one of its key partners to achieve this national strategy and assist their ongoing efforts to adopt AI.
“Dubai Municipality has chosen Nexthink’s advanced IT analytics solution as one of the data sources to gather the voluminous data it generates and provide meaningful insights; enabling it to strengthen security compliance, make better business decisions, boost productivity and enhance service delivery,” according to a statement released over the weekend.
Energy efficient Dubai
Energy will also be among the most discussed topics by the UAE at Davos 2018.
Dubai has set a target to provide 7 per cent of its total power output from clean energy by 2020. This target will increase to 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050.
Also, the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) made an announcement to raise AED2.4 billion as part of a AED100 billion green fund to make Dubai an environment-friendly city with the least carbon footprint in the world by 2050.
Energy goes hand in hand with technology as Artificial Intelligence will also be used as part of Dubai’s plan to become more energy efficient.
For instance, AI will also provide the intelligence for one of the world’s first flying taxi services powered by a drone.
Uber, which has partnered with the Dubai government, expects to conduct passenger flights as part of the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.
In September 2017, RTA took delivery of 50 Tesla electric vehicles as part of the 200-vehicle deal for Model S and Model X Teslas. According to RTA, an additional 75 are slated for delivery in 2018, with the final 75 to be delivered in 2019.
Also, Nissan has so far sold more than 280,000 Nissan LEAFs globally.
“Electrification is not only the future, it is the present,” said Ismail Sethi, Regional Product Marketing Manager for SUV, Crossovers and Electric Vehicles at Nissan.
“As global leaders in electric vehicles we are committed to contributing to the success of electric vehicles in the UAE, and believe the ambitious plans set out by the government will be met.”
Back to Davos’ Disruptive technology
According to the WEF’s Global Risks Report 2018, digital hygiene is likely to become a more pressing concern for internet users.
“The development of overarching norms, regulations and governance structures for AI will be crucial: without a robust and enforceable regulatory framework, there is a risk that humans will in effect be crowded out from the internet by the proliferation of AI,” it said.
Also, technology is of an utmost importance as global IT spending is going up.
IT spending trending
According to the latest forecast by Gartner, worldwide IT spending is projected to total $3.7 trillion in 2018, an increase of 4.5 percent from 2017.
“Global IT spending growth began to turn around in 2017, with continued growth expected over the next few years. Uncertainty looms but despite this uncertainty, businesses will continue to invest in IT as they anticipate revenue growth, however their spending patterns will shift. Projects in digital business, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and progression from big data to algorithms to machine learning to artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be main drivers of growth.”