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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

UAE hopes to celebrate exporting last barrel of oil, Noura Al Kaabi tells summit

Plans to capitalise on digital revolution, future-proof economy

Noura Al Kaabi at WIL Economic Forum. On Tuesday the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development said she hoped to equip the country's youth to capitalise on the digital revolution. Reem Mohammed / The National
Noura Al Kaabi at WIL Economic Forum. On Tuesday the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development said she hoped to equip the country's youth to capitalise on the digital revolution. Reem Mohammed / The National

The UAE plans to capitalise on the fourth industrial revolution and become a digital hub for the region.

“We want to be able to celebrate exporting the last barrel of oil,” Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, told delegates to the Knowledge Summit in Dubai on Tuesday.

The UAE intends to grow its own timber, “our focus in the next phase is to create companies out of the region for the region,” said Majed Al Suwaidi, managing director of Dubai Media City. “Today we believe the most successful companies created in the region are those that know the region much better than others from outside. The region needs to create its own businesses, value, content, content producers and opportunities … so it’s critical cities are focused on how to make it better for (start-ups).”

Ms Al Kaabi said she hoped to improve the livelihoods and equip the country’s youth to capitalise on the digital revolution.

“We’re in a place where we see hope, we dream and we want the majority of our population, which is the youth, to live in a better place than today,” she said. “We want … to live a very sustainable life so our investment has to go to entities that are not driving their own agenda – (an agenda of) hate speech, extremism or sectarianism. It’s about exploring and empowering the youth… and embedding that future agenda in everything we do.”

According to the Arab Media Report, people in the region spend on average 10.9 hours per day on traditional and social media. “We’re living in an absolutely amazing time,” said Ludovic Blecher, head of the Google Digital News Innovation Fund. “In terms of opportunities, the (audience) reach has never been this big due to the power of social media.”

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One of the challenges of the digital revolution is tackling fake news. “It’s become a dominant global conversation recently,” said Will Moy, director of Full Fact, an independent fact-checking charity. “People are creating websites with completely fake stories just to make money. One of the big opportunities to … is to educate (people about fake news) as we’re entering a world where no content can necessarily be trusted or traced back to its source.”

Detecting the manipulation of news will prove difficult. Larry Birnbaum, co-founder and chief scientific adviser at Narrative Science in the US, said: “How we detect people’s algorithmic manipulation will definitely be a big technical challenge”

He predicts that “as we improve technology, the model of the future will be one where people and machines interact with each other to produce things that individually they couldn’t do.”