UAE to become next Silicon Valley, say experts at Machine Can See 2023


Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Dubai can ace the race of the world’s cities aspiring to become the next Silicon Valley, said a group of experts from around the world who assembled at the Museum of the Future in Dubai, visualizing this city as a place with the capability to envision, imagine and bring things to reality.

Speaking at a panel discussion titled “Government, Business and Science” at the ‘Machines Can See 2023’ summit, the experts conversed about the future of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the UAE and its potential to become the next Silicon Valley. 

Exploring the seamless possibilities of AI, policymakers from the public sector, businesses, and academia opined that Dubai and the UAE are rapidly becoming a hub of advanced technologies, particularly in AI.

“We are privileged to have hosted the ‘Machines Can See 2023’ summit in the UAE. The name ‘’ reflects the UAE’s supportive environment for innovation and AI advancement for humanity’s benefit. We brought some of the brightest minds in the field to the prestigious Museum of the Future, sharing their powerful vision and knowledge,” said Mr. Alexander Khanin, founder, and director of Polynome, which organised the summit. 

“All cities around the world aspire to become the next Silicon Valley. However, to become that, a city needs to consider the factors contributing to the innovation ecosystem: a combination of talent, capital, private sector engagement and commercialization,” said Mr. Sharif El-Badawi, CEO of Dubai Future District Fund, during the discussion.

Elaborating on what more it would take for the UAE to become Silicon Valley, Mr. El-Badawi said, “It is possible by finding a way to commercialize research and innovations in science and technology to create a successful ecosystem similar to Silicon Valley. The government, academia, and corporates also play important roles in creating an environment conducive to innovation,” he added. 

“As the UAE has successfully attracted talent, its next focus should be on knowledge creation and building technical capabilities. This is the next wave happening in the nation. Our efforts will unlock the potential within Dubai’s Government-related entities to create value-add tracks for technologists building in the region,” remarked Mr. El-Badawi. 

Mr. Khalifa AlQama, Director of Dubai Future Labs, Dubai Future Foundation, said technology is the most crucial enabler. “The most critical aspect is the business value brought by having all the localised infrastructure, which can enable AI adoption as an enterprise. We have established an AI ecosystem, a localised service stack to assist organisations in modernising data. We need to assist organisations on the ground to modernise their data best and prepare the data for the AI.”

“Organisations can modernise their data, which is more of a problem than AI itself. If you can address that problem, AI will probably have the right food to eat in general, the expected outcomes. Each vertical has its appetite, be it banking, finance, healthcare, education, or the government, which always takes the lead with their mandates defined,” he added.

The fact that the UAE is the only country with a state-level Ministry of AI is a testament to its commitment to supporting the progress of AI technology. 

The one-day summit was hosted under the aegis of the UAE Ministry for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism, and Dubai Future Labs, an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation, exploring current advancements of AI, its applications, and its future in the UAE and the rest of the world. 

This year, the summit deliberated on the future of computer vision and machine learning with the foremost experts in 3D computer vision, deep learning, generative AI, Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and so on. 

The summit featured a diverse range of presentations and panel discussions from experts like Hao Li, Associate Professor at the Mohamed bin Zayed University of AI; Marc Pollefeys, Director of the Microsoft Mixed Reality and AI Lab, Professor at ETH Zürich; Philip Torr, Professor at Oxford University, Co-Founder at Aistetic Oxsight, and Chief Scientist at FiveAI; Bernard S. Ghanem, Professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology; Fernando de la Torre, Professor at Carnegie Mellon University; Serge Belongie, Professor at the University of Copenhagen; Daniel Cremers, Professor at the Technical University of Munich, Director and Co-Founder at Artisense; Manohar Paluri, Senior Director at META; Dr Abrar Abdulnabi, Head of AI at; Kamran Ashan, Senior Director AI and Smart Data at Etisalat; Ms. Sameera Fernandes, Global Educationist and Director – Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Century Financial; and Alexei Posternak, Managing Partner at INTEMA. 

The ‘Machines Can See’ summit was organized by Polynome Events and received support from governmental and academic organizations such as Destination Alliance, the Ministry of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Office, Khalifa University, Mohamed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, Dubai Future Foundation as well as sponsors, including INTEMA technological accelerator, YanGo and Century Financial.

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