Amazon’s chief technology officer, Werner Vogels, has been recruited to deliver a keynote speech at this year’s GITEX Technology Week.

Vogels is set to discuss Amazon’s growth from a start-up to the world’s fourth-biggest company by market capitalisation, according to the Financial Times Global 500 rankings. Amazon has also taken a major stride into the Middle East this year following its acquisition of, which completed in July.

Organisers of the GITEX event, which takes place at Dubai’s World Trade Centre from October 8-12, also said that more than 4,100 companies from various industries are expected to participate in the exhibition, displaying digital and technological innovations.

Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) is also expected to give a public debut to the self-flying taxis that are expected to be introduced in the emirate, the press release said.

The event will also have a focus on artificial intelligence (AI) technologies and innovations, as well as a series of events for tech startups.

AI investments in the UAE are expected to reach 33 billion dirhams ($9 billion) by the end of the year, Emirates News Agency WAM said last month.

A survey produced by management consultancy Accenture in August which polled 26,000 people from 26 countries online found that UAE consumers were the most willing to adopt new AI technologies.

Speaking at the GITEX press conference, Accenture’s regional managing director for the Middle East and Turkey, Omar Boulus, said: “We did what we call the digital consumer survey in a number of countries around the world… and the questions we were asking people was about their willingness to actually utilize AI.

“Seventy four percent of the people in the UAE have said that they are absolutely on board and actually more than 60 percent of them said they have actually used this (AI)…. 44 percent was the global average,” Boulos added.

Boulos said the survey’s results showed that 80 percent of UAE customers who said they were willing to adopt AI technologies explained that they would do so because they felt AI services were available, convenient and consistent.

A copy of the Accenture report sent to Zawya by email after the press conference stated that that 73 percent of the surveyed UAE consumers are currently using, or are interested in using, a voice-enabled digital assistant for their smartphone, PC or other devices. It said that 76 percent of respondents said they were comfortable with an AI application responding to their query, while 74 percent said AI was “nice and polite” and “faster to engage”.

(Final paragraph containing report figures added).

© Zawya 2017