GITEX Global was officially opened on Monday by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, with the five-day exhibition serving as a launch pad for some of the biggest announcements in the world of technology today.
Renewing a driving license, applying for a UAE Golden Visa, or paying a traffic fine could soon be easier with the help of AI. Demonstrating what government services of the future could look like, Microsoft announced its partnership with Kagool on building the 'Cotizen Companion' – an AI-powered interface that communicates with visitors in their native language and aids on various government services. Personal services are unlocked through residents’ Emirates IDs and save users time and effort and increasing governmental efficiencies by taking over administrative tasks.
G42 makes way for Core42
G42, the company behind the world’s fastest supercomputer, announced the formation of Core42, which will focus on the delivery of AI solutions and services. The new entity was the result of a merger between three of G42’s business verticals, G42 Cloud, Injazat and Inception. The new company will be led by G42’s Group CTO Kiril Evtimov, who was announced as the CEO of Core42, which will offer scalable cloud solutions, AI cloud and HPC infrastructure, catering specifically to the public sector and regulated industries. The new entity will also focus on AI research and implementation, enabling generative AI for enterprise across multiple sectors and government organisations. Cybersecurity will also be a big focus to protect organisations against data breaches and cyber-attacks.
e&’s first autonomous store
At GITEX, telecommunications company e& announced the launch of the world’s first autonomous telecom store powered by AI. ‘EASE’ (Etisalat by e& Autonomous Store Experience) is being touted as the future of retail, combining AI with machine learning, facial recognition, smart gates, robotics, smart-shelves and smart dispensing machines. Customers will be able enter the store using facial recognition or the etisalat by e& app; they can then explore and purchase a variety of products and services (mobile and fixed products, accessories, handsets, device trade-in) and just walk out of the store with a self-checkout.
Careem goes green
With GITEX Impact shifting focus to green initiatives, ride-hailing company Careem announced that its e-bike service, Careem Bike, displaced over 2.9 million tonnes of CO2 - the equivalent of 834 cars emitting CO2 - since its launch in 2020. Meanwhile, in 2023, 53% of Careem ride-hailing trips have been completed with hybrid or electric vehicles. Careem’s UAE fleet currently offers over 75 electric Teslas and more than 1,400 hybrids.
Abu Dhabi’s Autonomous Racing League
The ongoing GITEX Global exhibition also saw the launch of the Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League, A2RL, along with the unveiling of the first autonomised Dallara Super Formula, SF23. Operating without human involvement, the autonomous vehicle by ASPIRE will feature in the inaugural race scheduled for 28 April 2024, at the UAE capital’s Yas Marina Circuit. A2RL integrates AI, autonomy, and extreme sports in a push for future mobility innovation. The event will also feature autonomous car races, drone races, and dune buggy races.
Call for AI regulations
Omar Sultan Al Olama, the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, spoke about the need of greater governance with the widespread adoption of such cutting-edge technologies such as AI. “A perfect world doesn’t exist, but in today’s climate, we need to be realistic as well. And the realistic view is that such technology already exists; look at the drones used in Afghanistan and Iraq which have AI capabilities. They existed over two decades ago. The question to ask here is, ‘should the technology make the decisions?’, ‘should the drone decide, who should live or die?,” he stressed. At a time where the bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas, along with an ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine, Olama agreed that a Geneva Convention or a rule of law may soon become necessary if autonomous weaponry comes into play.
(Writing by Bindu Rai, editing by Daniel Luiz)