181216 Michio Kaku
Michio Kaku Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: A toilet that can detect cancer cells long before a tumour grows. Contact lenses that harness information from the internet in one blink. Art conceived in the mind of an artist and then directly 3D-printed. This is the future and those who embrace it are winners in the next revolution, an American futurist said.

Professor Michio Kaku, a renowned theoretical physicist, futurist, and popular science communicator, revealed what our future world would look like at this year’s Risk and Resilience Conference 2018 held in Dubai on Sunday.

A keynote speaker at the conference with the theme ‘Enlightening Today’s Unknowns for Tomorrow’, Professor Kaku said the future is bright for countries and governments that capitalise on intelligence capital and Dubai is doing exactly that.

“The engine of prosperity is science and technology. Those countries which embrace those principles will be rich. Those countries that only believe in old fashioned commodities like agriculture and food unfortunately, those prices keep dropping every year and they will be poor in the future,” Professor Kaku told Gulf News at the conference organised by Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) in partnership with Ernst and Young.

“The leadership of Dubai grasped this fact that you have to balance intellectual capital — the product of the mind — with commodity capital — product of the hand — to create this vibrant society because the engine for prosperity is ultimately science and technology.”

For Professor Kaku, Dubai is a beacon for the region with its drive towards a knowledge-based economy and its strategy to use artificial intelligence in various future services, sectors and infrastructure projects.

“The winners of the future are people who believe in strategy, planning, vision, innovation, these are the winners of the future. Congratulations, you [people of Dubai] are among the winners. I see Dubai as leading [itself] to the future. Dubai is at the forefront, at the leadership of this process. They welcome the future because that can be the source of jobs, of prosperity of the future.”

After the digitisation of the music industry and the media, all other industries will follow one by one and next in line are transportation, medicine, and finance, Professor Kaku said. Those that resisted digitisation went bankrupt. It won’t be different for all other sectors.

Some repetitive jobs will be replaced by robots as digitisation continues. But robots cannot replace people who do work that require intellectual capital such as analysis, experience, innovation, know-how, strategy, and also require manual dexterity such as fixing leaks, and those that involve human relations.

This year’s conference is particularly important due to the essential role of risk management, resilience, and business continuity in realising Dewa’s updated vision to become a Sustainable Innovative Leading Utility, Saeed Mohammad Al Tayer, Managing Director and CEO of Dewa, said.

“The conference supports Dewa’s efforts to implement the leadership’s directives to be prepared for the rapid changes, according to a vision that not only anticipates the future, but makes it. Dewa operates a rigorous risk management system, bolstering its resilience by anticipating risks and preparing for change, to ensure business continuity.”

“We also adapt our work environment and operations to support national strategies and goals, and deliver uninterrupted supplies of reliable electricity and water services to over 850,000 customers in Dubai according to the highest levels of availability, reliability, and quality worldwide,” Al Tayer said.