An avatar of Dr Michael from Netherlands introducing the virtual hospital within the Metaverse at Knowledge Summit in Dubai Video Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Ever heard of a Metaversity? Imagine a new world of learning with augmented, virtual and extended reality, 3D prototypes, holograms and avatars of actual professors taking classes, doctors, pathologists and surgeons conducting remote tele-consulting or even robotic surgeries remotely.

As the main theme of the Knowledge Summit that opened at Dubai Exhibition Centre at Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday, the Metaverse was presented with a hologram and avatars from across the world by Professor Shafi Ahmed, a surgeon, teacher, futurist, innovator and entrepreneur from the UK.

The professor gave a live demo of what Metaverse learning and teaching would be like, via a virtual learning lens that enabled him to enter virtual reality and interact with virtual avatars of doctors in the Netherlands and Toronto as part of the healthcare Metaversity.

The five-day summit is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The summit, now in its seventh edition, is being organised by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The leading theme of the Summit is ‘Protecting Humanity and the Planet in the Pandemic’, which includes live sessions on Monday and Tuesday, and virtual conferences from Wednesday to Friday.

Professor Shafi Ahmed
Professor Shafi Ahmed Image Credit: Suchitra Bajpai Chaudhary

Adapting learning to pandemic challenges

The summit is bringing together experts, academics, and decision makers to examine the challenges to building a knowledge society. Another aim is to formulate solutions that would enable countries to achieve their development plans within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Learning modules

The main sessions address broad themes, most notably ‘Knowledge Drives the Future’, ‘Web Education 3.0 - The Metaversity’, ‘The Role and Impact of Media During Crisis: COVID-19 (as an example)’, ‘Pandemics and Their Impact on Climate: A Double-Edged Sword’, ‘Food Security: Between Sustainable Supply Chains & Self-Sufficiency’, ‘Creative thinking: Working Towards poverty free societies’, ‘Mental Health and Pandemics’, ‘Young Entrepreneurship’, and ‘Epidemiology & Public Health: A Profound Impact on How We Live Our Lives’.

New models of education

Parallel sessions under the ‘Knowledge Space’ banner will also discuss several topics such as ‘Scaling up resilience in times of uncertainty’, ‘A New Model for Education’, ‘Disseminating knowledge in non-traditional ways: The Researcher’s experience’, ‘Fostering collaboration and innovation mechanisms to manage risks’, ‘Promoting science and policy dialogues: Science–policy interfaces’, ‘Growing the knowledge economy in an age of intangibles’, and ‘Data availability and access: The key to resilience.’

Global Knowledge Index

The sessions will also display the results of the Arab countries in the Global Knowledge Index 2021, and the results of the Social Progress Index, which measures the level of social progress in the countries. The report is based on several criteria aimed at measuring well-being, opportunities, and basic human needs.

‘Future of Knowledge’

In addition, the summit will also witness the launch of the third edition of the Future of Knowledge Foresight Report. This report will review the future knowledge landscape and analyse differences in the transformative capacities of various countries in the face of major global risks. Created utilising large data over two years, this report will also provide new insights into countries’ readiness to face future risks.

Virtual sessions

For the first time, the Knowledge Summit events will also continue virtually, through conferences on the website platform from Wednesday to Friday.

These sessions will examine various topics such as ‘Effective Leadership During Crisis: Transforming Cultures & Driving Innovation’, ‘Reinventing Jobs and Employment’, ‘Resilient Infrastructure: A Long-Term Profitable Investment’, ‘Water Security: A Cornerstone for Economic, Social and Environmental Development’, among other contemporary topics.