Industry Leaders at Dubai Future Forum Urge Massive Shift in Finance, Tech to ‘Transform Humanity’

The Dubai Future Forum 2023 witnessed a convergence of global thought leaders across finance, telecommunications, technology, and demographic research.

Addressing the need for radical change in their sectors, these experts emphasized the overhaul of “ineffective” frameworks guiding nations, communities, and individuals.

During the panel titled ‘System Reset: How Will We Come to Define Currency?’, discussions centered on the evolving nature of currency in the wake of emerging technologies.

Yaser AbuShaban of Silver Peak Capital Advisors highlighted the shift towards a more democratic financial system, emphasizing its departure from traditional centers of economic power.

Sarah Bird, representing TimeBanking UK, introduced Time Banking as an inclusive alternative model operational in 32 countries. She emphasized its person-centric approach, enabling assistance irrespective of age, ability, or background.

Stefan Rust from Truflation focused on experimental shifts, proposing tokenization of commodities like oil, nickel, and palladium to revamp currency systems. He mentioned, “Experiments, such as valuing time as currency and creating and monitoring currencies based on commodities, represent foundational shifts. We can tokenize these commodities, linking tokens to oil, nickel, palladium, or other essential materials for the future.”

In the ‘Transforming Humanity’ panel, Michael Clark of Mastercard stressed the significance of data as the driving force behind technology, emphasizing its origin from people’s experiences and identities.

Experts like Martin Calnan from Ecole des Ponts Business School raised pertinent questions about economic systems’ adaptability to new assets like data, blockchain, and AI.

Marwan Alzarouni of the Dubai Blockchain Centre also highlighted the need to balance economic incentives with broader societal benefits for progressive humanity.

He commented, “Economy is what drives us, and there we have to find this middle ground for things that are useful for human beings and generally for our progress as humanity.”

The discussions extended to demographic trends, with James Pomeroy from HSBC addressing policymakers’ oversight of demographic shifts’ substantial economic impact. He commented, “For years, policymakers have behaved like ostriches in response to demographic changes. We continue to ignore this slow-moving but substantial force in the global economy, and we resist implementing the necessary significant changes.”

Moreover, Narue Shiki from the UNDP highlighted the lack of preparedness in societies due to polarizing narratives around demographic changes.

Prof. Alex Ezeh of Drexel University proposed reframing population declines to account for regional differences.

The session also delved into the role of technology guardians, with Abdul Rahman Al Marzouqi of the Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority discussing the UAE’s technology-neutral approach.

He commented, “In the UAE, we have the capability to explore every possibility, and it’s essential to remain technology neutral. This means allowing each technology to be tested to understand its potential and creating an environment where investors in these technologies can see a return on their investments.”

Kenechi Okeleke from GSMA Intelligence advocated for comprehensive network coverage across diverse regions, including rural areas and space.

Lotfi Elati from Meta discussed the transformative impact of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) mega-constellations on satellite communication, predicting a paradigm shift in the field, “I believe that satellite communication was previously limited by several factors, leading to high costs and perceived underperformance issues. However, with the recent developments and the launch of LEO mega-constellations, these barriers are being significantly reduced. We are now witnessing a paradigm shift in the field.”

The forum highlighted the imperative need for systemic transformations across various sectors to adapt to emerging technologies and societal changes.

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