All eyes on Dubai’s inaugural AI Retreat 2024: What lies ahead?

All eyes on Dubai’s inaugural AI Retreat 2024: What lies ahead?

Op-ed by Hisham Al Gurg, CEO of Seed Group and The Private Office of Sheikh Saeed bin Ahmed Al Maktoum

The recently concluded AI Retreat 2024 marked a landmark milestone in the history of Dubai’s Artificial Intelligence vision. As Dubai successfully launched the inaugural retreat, it sent a wave of optimism across the world and set high expectations for an AI-focused and technology-friendly future. Given the fact that the emirate’s vision for AI is both ambitious and strategic, this workshop convention offered much more than what had been anticipated.

His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Dubai Future Foundation, announced that the AI Retreat will now be held annually in Dubai. The next retreat is set to take place on 29 April 2025.

I call this event a landmark for more than one reason. This Retreat has gathered over 2,500 participants from all over the world, including 50 CEOs from major technology firms like Microsoft, IBM, and Google. The strong turnout demonstrates the world’s confidence in Dubai’s potential to innovate and develop cutting-edge technologies. Taking place at the Museum of the Future and AREA 2071, this event also underlined the city’s dedication to leveraging AI across various sectors for the betterment of humanity.

Notably, the Emirate has already made remarkable strides in this direction. From the launch of the Dubai AI Roadmap to the establishment of the Dubai Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DCAI), there is a lot of groundwork being laid for making Dubai an epicentre of all things AI. There is a broader strategy in place to foster a data-driven, cloud-first economy that leverages AI to transform governance, healthcare, transportation, and everything that touches life and improves its quality.

The AI Retreat 2024, organised by DCAI in collaboration with the National Programme for Artificial Intelligence, was the first event under the DUB.AI. This annual blueprint aims to expedite AI adoption, cementing Dubai’s status as a preferred destination for technology, innovation, and AI companies. The Retreat’s agenda included high-profile roundtables, panel discussions, and specialised workshops focused on key themes such as funding and finance, infrastructure, data enablement, and talent development.

For us at Seed Group and The Private Office, the AI Retreat is an important event. Unquestionably, it empowers, in a tangible and intangible manner, our vast array of strategic partners from across the world who are working in AI domains. In addition, it opens doors for new start-ups and entrepreneurs who are looking to make Dubai their business home. As drivers of the region’s AI ecosystem, we are very much looking forward to the outcomes of this Retreat as the vision here aligns perfectly with our mission to fuel the AI industry and bring all stakeholders together.

Another highlight was that the Retreat’s focus on devising strategies for AI applications in various sectors provided invaluable insights that will shape our future initiatives and partnerships. One of the Retreat’s primary goals is to foster partnerships that accelerate AI adoption across all sectors. These collaborations are expected to be crucial in designing solutions that enhance sustainable development, improve the quality of life, and increase the possibility of business success.

As the CEO of Seed Group and The Private Office, I believe the event will pave the way for future collaborations between policymakers, industry experts, and AI specialists. Very few events in the AI and technology spheres ensure a cohesive approach to AI integration, something that the Retreat promises to do along with positioning Dubai as a leader in the AI revolution.

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