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C4IR UAE Launches the 2nd Smart Toys Competition in Cooperation with the World Economic Forum

July 28, 2022

The C4IR UAE and the World Economic Forum calls on smart toys companies to take part in the innovative competition

The Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution UAE (C4IR UAE), a collaboration between Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and World Economic Forum (WEF), has launched the second Smart Toys Competition.

The competition aims to promote the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in smart toys to boost children’s learning, critical thinking, social engagement and creativity. It supports the development of smart toys that help children overcome challenges through creative and entertaining AI-based content and promotes toys that adhere to ethical standards. By promoting innovative toys that adhere to ethical guidelines that protect children, alongside their data and privacy, C4IR UAE seeks to position Dubai as a leading child-friendly city.

The competition will award seven winners across seven different categories, all open to local and global startups, as well as toy developers. The competition seeks toys in categories such as ‘Creative Play’, ‘Learn-to-Code’, ‘Robotics’, ‘Smart Companion’, ‘Smart Speakers for Kids’ and the ‘Most Innovative Take on AI for Kids’.

The winners will be announced on World Children’s Day, celebrated on 20 November each year, during a special ceremony held at the Museum of the Future. Beyond the great honour of winning this award, companies will also receive a “website badge” – indicating the toy won the Smart Toy Award in a specific category in 2022. In addition, winners will have additional opportunities to engage with the World Economic Forum on future initiatives related to their toys and AI governance, and the opportunity to display their toy at the Museum of the Future in Dubai.

Global Partnership to Enhance Education

“The Smart Toys Competition reflects Dubai’s belief in fostering global partnerships to develop innovative solutions for key sectors, including education. These partnerships leverage on Dubai’s crucial position as a global innovation hub to continue to test new technologies as effectives effective tools for growth and development, while also ensuring that the right guidelines for regulation and ethics are implemented along the way. Initiatives like the Smart Toys Competition are essential amid the rapid global transformation we are currently witnessing, particularly as more sectors become reliant on technology. Since we believe in the potential of AI, even in sectors like education, we also need to ensure that we work with key partners in the field to harness this potential in a responsible manner, without curbing innovation,” said Mariam Al Muhairi, Head of C4IR UAE.

“We are honoured to partner with the World Economic Forum to host 2nd edition of Smart Toys competition following the previous edition’s success and collaboration with local and global partners. We are confident that the promising smart toys sector will continue to grow and prosper. Hence, this competition will unlock new opportunities for companies and innovative thinkers to scale in an encouraging and pioneering environment,” she added.

Al Muhairi reiterated that smart toys will open new horizons for education and teaching that go far beyond the traditional learning process. They can provide smart content tailored to individual needs while guarding privacy and committing to ethical guidelines to protect children from any potential drawbacks of the advanced technologies.

On her part, Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning; Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum said, “We are delighted to partner with C4IR UAE to create a unique way of protecting and empowering children. This sets an appropriately high bar for innovative uses of AI with kids across the world enhancing their development; and affirming fundamental values of accessibility, autonomy, and inclusivity for toys children play with and learn.”

Criteria and Deadline

A jury comprising of experts from public and private sector, including NGOs, will evaluate the entries based on the World Economic Forum’s collaborative report ‘Artificial Intelligence for Children Toolkit’, which includes a set of principles governing AI, called the FIRST principles (fairness, inclusiveness, responsibility, safety and transparency).

Submitted applications and toys will undergo a series of assessments to ensure that each toy provides clear value to the child and meets the competition’s standards and principles. Companies looking to participate in the competition have until 31 August 2022 to submit their projects and ideas via:

A Handbook for Children’s Interaction with AI

The C4IR UAE joined the Generation AI Programme, developed and supervised by the World Economic Forum in 2020, to study how the reliance on AI can impact children’s privacy, mental health and overdependence.

The C4IR UAE was established in 2019 under an agreement between the World Economic Forum and the Dubai Future Foundation, concluded in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation, during his participation in the World Economic Forum 49th annual meeting in Davos. 

C4IR UAE Launches the 2nd Smart Toys Competition in Cooperation with the World Economic Forum-Smart-Toys-Competition-Infographic-scaled