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AI takes center stage at GITEX: Dubai’s tech showcase spotlights future-driven innovations

AI takes center stage at GITEX: Dubai's tech showcase spotlights future-driven innovations
Mayssae Ajzannay
Mayssae Ajzannay

3 min

GITEX in Dubai showcases AI's dominance in future-centric tech innovations.

UAE Minister Al Olama advocates for global consensus on AI governance at GITEX.

The rise in AI-powered cyber attacks drives the need for enhanced cyber resilience in the Middle East.

Dubai warmly welcomes the UAE's signature tech event, GITEX, this week. As expected, hot topics like the digital economy, 6G, and Web 3.0 are creating a buzz. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) remains the cornerstone of innovations set to shape the future.

The five-day event at the Dubai World Trade Centre, accompanied by satellite events at Dubai Harbour and the Museum of the Future, hosts 6,000 exhibitors. Notably, there's a discernible shift towards the embrace of Generative AI by both governments and corporate entities.

The ramifications of AI during this ongoing fourth industrial revolution are significant. A PwC report recently projected that AI's impact on the Middle East could surge to $320 billion by 2030. Saudi Arabia is poised to enjoy the lion's share, with an expected $135.2 billion contribution, which translates to 12.4% of its GDP by 2030. The UAE isn't far behind, with AI expected to bolster its GDP by nearly 14%, equating to $96 billion.

IDC, a market intelligence firm, posits that a quarter of all regional AI investments will focus on crafting AI solutions. Other beneficial sectors include public services, such as education, healthcare, and manufacturing.

While GITEX 2023 sees a strong AI presence, with over 1,000 AI-centric companies in attendance, lingering concerns about governance, regulations, and employment implications persist.
UAE's Minister of State for AI, Digital Economy & Remote Work Applications, Omar Sultan Al Olama, advocated for a global consensus on AI governance. During a pre-GITEX event, he stressed governing AI use cases rather than the technology itself. He called for discussions to be more solution-focused rather than dominated by fears.

With AI's benefits come its vulnerabilities. Acronis, a global cyber protection firm, highlighted a 464% surge in phishing attacks via email in the first half of 2023. The UAE, however, held its position as the region's cybersecurity frontrunner. As cyber threats escalate, especially with AI-powered adversarial tactics, Ziad Nasr of Acronis emphasized the imperative of cyber resilience.

Hackers now employ AI to amplify their malicious activities. The broader regional IT landscape responds by boosting budgets to address these heightened threats. Gartner predicts that IT expenditure in the Middle East and North Africa will grow by 4%, reaching $183.8 billion in 2024.

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This year, GITEX devotes special attention to startups. The Expand North Star event, running from October 15-18 and hosted by the Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, aims to further this cause. It is set to attract a massive global investment contingent, with 1,000 investors from 70 countries managing an astounding $1 trillion.

This focus on startups is timely. In 2022, UAE-based startups drew most of the $4 billion startup investments across the Middle East and North Africa, securing $1.85 billion across 250 deals.

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