Dubai: The future of trade, social media and generative artificial intelligence bots like ChatGPT took centrestage on the second day of ‘Innovation Talks’, organised by The Executive Council of Dubai.
Sultan bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World, opened day two with a speech focused on Dubai’s innovation journey in trade and logistics. “When the free zone was established in Jebel Ali in 1985, many questioned its feasibility, but today it’s one of the largest shipping hubs in the world.”
He further said that the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, guided the development of the emirate’s ambitious airport and aviation projects. “His Highness firmly believed that an integrated city for aviation services is vital to further attract global air traffic to Dubai. His foresight played an instrumental role in Dubai’s development. His Highness’s vision inspired Dubai’s remarkable rise as a global trade and logistics hub and transformed DP World into a global leader in maritime transport and one of the world’s largest port operators,” Bin Sulayem added.
“Driven by innovation, Dubai Ports has transformed from a small company into a global organisation. Last year, the volumes we handled reached 80 million containers globally. Our ability to innovate continuously has increased our speed and efficiency. Emirati youth are now leading critical developments in new frontiers, thanks to the knowledge and experience they have gained.”
Rima Semaan, Microsoft’s Data and AI Lead, highlighted the company’s long-term partnership with OpenAI aimed at accelerating breakthroughs in artificial intelligence. “OpenAI is a research company trying to build generative artificial intelligence that benefits humanity. At Microsoft, we want to empower every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. By bringing these two missions together, we believe we can do great things that drive innovation.”
“The more we can advance generative AI and ChatGPT, the more we can accelerate progress for society, humanity and the future of government. We believe it offers limitless generation with a few lines of input that can seriously augment human capabilities,” she added.
Social media innovation
A panel discussion on social media innovation welcomed Alia Al-Shamlan, Founder and CEO of Ferjan Dubai, and Heena Mak, Director of Strategy and Research at Socialeyes. Speaking at the session, Al-Shamlan said: “The most beautiful innovation is the one that’s born from a need to serve the community. This was the story of the effort to serve various neighbourhoods in Dubai.”
She added: “The most beautiful day for us was when we met Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council in 2022. For us, this was a great validation of our efforts. He asked us how we can scale our work and create greater impact, multiple times higher than what we achieved. Now is the time for us to make an impact and deliver.”
Heena Mak further said: “Social search is changing, and it will be in the spotlight in 2023. Google might be replaced by social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok with people searching for videos that answer their questions. These platforms have already calibrated their algorithms to capitalise on this. So what do brands need to do? We think brands needs to identify unique keywords and own their key words. They will certainly have some fun experimenting in this space as they innovate.”
Carlos Guevara, Partner at SIA Partners, closed the second day with a speech on the topic ‘Innovation for Organisational Agility’. “Dubai is on the right track when it comes to innovation because the UAE is rapidly becoming a hub for disruptive ideas,” he said. “This is evident from the large number of accelerators, incubators, entrepreneurs and start-ups being launched every year.”
He further said: “So how can you accelerate innovation because this is not something that happens by coincidence; it’s something you want to control and do faster. To be innovative you need a target beyond business-as-usual goals. There’s a growth gap between where you are and what you can achieve. The size of this gap will determine the number of resources you need.”
Organised by The Executive Council of Dubai, ‘Innovation Talks’ brings together heads and representatives of Dubai government departments, and experts from major private sector companies to discuss how they can work together to develop a common vision for the future.
The ‘Innovation Talks’ series forms part of Dubai’s participation in the eighth edition of ‘UAE Innovates 2023’, the largest national event that celebrates innovation and innovators across the country, featuring the participation of government and private sector organisations. The event is focused on highlighting the importance of innovation, especially in providing services, increasing the effectiveness of procedures and keeping pace with recent technical and technological developments.