More than 400 experts, 70 speakers, 1,000 attendees convened at Dubai’s Museum of the Future
The inaugural Dubai Future Forum, organized by Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) and held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Executive Council and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Dubai Future Foundation, ended today, unveiling strategic pathways to enable societies to flourish, economies to grow, countries to thrive and humankind to prosper.
Hosted by Dubai’s Museum of the Future on 11-12 October, the world’s largest two-day gathering of futurists brought together more than 400 experts, 70 speakers, 1,000 attendees and 45 leading institutions to explore myriad topics, including space travel, climate change, digital inclusion, ethical artificial intelligence and preparing for the future.
It firmly established the UAE and Dubai as a leading global destination to deepen partnerships between like-minded organizations who share a commitment to work collectively on creating a better world.
Among the most striking claims were that computers and televisions will disappear in less than 50 years. And that there are still three billion people who do not use the internet, therefore, quick and effective solutions must be developed to bridge the digital divide. The private sector will have a major role to play in shaping legislation that will allow humankind to explore new frontiers of the known universe. Moreover, the cost of maintaining human information is likely to decline significantly, the focus of wealth in the future will be knowledge, while the future of digital money and mediums of exchange will be disrupted heavily.
Experts also heard of a world where hydrogen will be extracted from seawater to create a new era of renewable energy, how progress in artificial intelligence will be measured in seconds, and that the total value of investments in the space industry could reach USD 20 trillion by 2040.
Foresight is key
Concluding the Dubai Future Forum, His Excellency Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, called on the world’s greatest minds and experts to redouble work in anticipating the future to help humankind avoid challenges in the future.
HE Belhoul said: “We have come here today because in the years to come, we need to be able to foresee challenges and make educated predications based on what we know and what we have already experienced.”
His Excellency underlined Dubai’s global role in foresight and acting as a platform for collaboration. “For Dubai and the UAE, foreseeing the future is in our DNA. In just few decades, Dubai transformed into a leading city of the future and a diverse metropolis.”
He continued: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has carried this torch forward as we journey into the future. Dubai Future Foundation came to life as part of His Highness’ vision to institutionalize foresight. The foundation was built to not only embrace the future but to equip us, the people of today, with the right tools to take charge of building for tomorrow.”
HE Belhoul said: “This is not only the first edition of the Dubai Future Forum. It is a first significant step towards galvanizing the global community to carve out a collective and shared future. There is still so much more to be done. This forum is our way of building a legacy and creating a collaborative future together. Dubai is a new epicenter of intellectual development, and it is eager to create real change in the world.”
Global Future Society
On the sidelines of the Forum, Dubai Future Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with World Futures Studies Federation (WFSF) and Public Sector Foresight Network (PSFN) to define pathways for future collaboration, joint research and knowledge-sharing opportunities.
The signing followed the announcement to establish the Global Future Society, headquartered at the Museum of the Future and co-founded by the DFF, Association of Professional Futurists and The Millennium Project; creating an alliance that will establish Dubai’s Museum of the Future as home for the world’s futurists and visionaries.
During an interactive workshop titled ‘Can We Predict 2023’, Dr. Patrick Noack, Executive Director – Future, Foresight and Imagination at Dubai Future Foundation, brought 110 participants together to explore near-term trends and how governments, companies and societies should deal with them. They discussed issues likely to affect the short-term future, including paper transactions, plastic bags, digital services, gender equality, inflation, economic slowdowns, climate action, mental health, social unrest and digital education in an age of virtual reality.
The vision of UAE and Dubai also came in a lot of praise from experts across the globe. Speaking during the forum, Amy Webb, CEO of Future Today Institute, said: “Dubai is a rare exception where foresight is a key part of government decision making. If there was more foresight at a government level globally, governments would be more comfortable with uncertainty, they would think the unthinkable and they would create strategy for mitigation and growth.”
Among other things, the sessions during Dubai Future Forum emphasized how governments, businesses and societies should implement actionable foresight that leads to strategies to mitigate risks and enable growth.
The Dubai Future Forum brought together 45 global institutions such as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Future Today Institute, the Data Trusts Initiative, the Future of Humanity, the Social Design Institute, the Middle East Institute, EY, Khalifa University, and the Regulations Lab.
The Dubai Future Forum will be hosted annually by DFF to support Dubai’s future agenda by providing new networking and community building opportunities for global thought leaders to convene and design collaborative solutions for an inclusive and sustainable future.