Dubai summit’s stark warning to workers on tech takeover

DUBAI: Workforces will face a growing challenge in coming years coping with rapidly advancing technology and innovation, knowledge and innovation experts at a Dubai summit have warned.
Addressing a panel discussion at the Knowledge Summit, Khalifa Hassan Al-Forah Al-Shamsi, group chief corporate strategy and governance officer at Etisalat, said that the IoT (Internet of things) and AI (artificial intelligence) will play a greater role in future.
“Robots are going to rule the education and health sectors. We need professionals who are trained to cope with the technology pressure,” he said.
Sarfaraz Alam, chairman of TEXPO group of companies, said that in the near future the jobs of lawyers, doctors and pharmacists will vanish with robots taking their places.
“Those professions that have the ability to integrate, evolve and disrupt will survive. The rest will be replaced by AI and robots,” Alam said.
More than 100 leading technology and innovation specialists from across the world are taking part in the Knowledge Summit, which brings together prominent decision-makers, academics and pioneers from various sectors to explore best practice and propose answers to future challenges.
The summit, under the theme “Youth and the Future of the Knowledge Economy,” is an annual initiative of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Knowledge Foundation.
Delivering an opening address at the two-day event, Dr. Boris Cizelj, president of the Knowledge Economy Network, said that innovations are reaching mass markets on an exponentially reducing timescale.
“The telephone took 50 years to reach a market of 50 million people; the mobile phone took 12 years, YouTube four, Facebook three and Twitter only two years. This really shows the acceleration of change — it is difficult to imagine it, but we have to adapt to it,” he said.
Dr. Simon Galpin, managing director of the Bahrain Economic Development Board, warned summit participants of a possible backlash against technology.
“If we focus only on technology, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, we won’t go anywhere. We need to encourage skills to keep our children human — skills such as creativity and interpersonal communication,” he said.

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