Wed 29-03-2023 19:47 PM
ABU DHABI, 29th March, 2023 (WAM) -- H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, attended a lecture organised by Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed, titled “Technology & Future Trends: How to Think like a Futurist”, at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.
The lecture was also attended by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence; and a number of sheikhs and officials.
The first lecture in this year’s Ramadan series was presented by Amy Webb, a quantitative futurist, professor, best-selling author, and founder and CEO of the Future Today Institute. Her lecture explored the importance of imagining future scenarios and foreseeing upcoming revolutionary technologies that could potentially change the world today.
Webb introduced the concept of “worldbuilding”, which she described as “the creative act of imagining, designing and implementing a world that evolves or diverges from today”. Worldbuilding, she said, is foundational to storytelling but is also a vital part of strategic foresight and long-term planning in government and in business.
These concepts, she added, were not new to the UAE, describing the founding fathers as “some of the smartest visionaries and the best strategic planners that have ever lived.” She discussed how they imagined a future with a unified society, inclusive culture and a long-term vision for social and economic development.
In imaging the future, she encouraged the audience to place themselves and their community at the centre, and for them to contemplate multiple potential futures, conscious that the future is the result of the decisions we make and the conversations we have in the present.
The lecture went on to explore how emerging technologies such as generative AI and bioengineering could affect society. Webb advised that effective worldbuilding and exploring uncertainty through different scenarios “helps to remove the guesswork,” suggesting that as a centre of innovation, the UAE could drive global thinking in many of these areas.
In addition to the keynote address by Amy Webb, the lecture featured pre-recorded contributions from Hasan Al Hosani, CEO of Bayanat; Dr. Ebtesam Almazrouei, Director of AI Cross-Centre Unit; and Tannya Jajal, technology evangelist and AI author; and was introduced by Talal Al Kaissi, CEO of G42 Cloud.
The lecture will be broadcast on Thursday 30th March, beginning 60 minutes before Iftar, on local TV networks and on the Majlis Mohamed bin Zayed YouTube channel (youtube.com/@MajlisMohamedbinZayed).