Autonomous shuttle buses, AI sports and R2-D2-esque robots: what happened on day one of Ai Everything in Dubai

A roundup of some of the sights and sounds from the first day of the AI extravaganza.
AI, Artificial intelligence, Smart Dubai, Dubai, UAE, United Arab Emirates, Ai Everything, Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, Taryn Southern, IBM, Huawei, GOOGLE, HP, Alibaba, Cloud, Tech, Future, Society, Smart cities, TESLA, ROBOTS, 5G


An AI sports demonstration on day one at the Ai Everything event at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Robots rolling about with brochures on top of them. Robot police officers. Robots shooting basketballs. A Tesla Model 3. Autonomous shuttle buses people could catch a ride in. AI, well, everything – then again, the event was literally called “Ai Everything.”

Humans – and robots – from near and far flocked to the Dubai World Trade Centre on Tuesday, April 30 for the aptly-named Ai Everything. Featuring more than 100 exhibitors from 25 countries, the first day of the two-day event brought together the world’s best and brightest minds to discuss just where we’re at presently with artificial intelligence – and where things are going.

Spread out over three halls in the trade centre, exhibitors included large international organisations such as IBM, Huawei, HP, Google, Tesla (who had a shiny red Model 3 on their stand that visitors could sit inside) and Microsoft showcasing their latest and greatest innovations – and also plenty of regional and worldwide start-ups hoping to make waves with their own AI innovations. Government organisations such as Smart Dubai had strong representation, while also in attendance was the UAE’s Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, H.E. Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama (the world’s first Minister of State for AI).

Then there were the speeches, panel discussions, debates and more. From Dr Ben Goertzel (CEO of SingularityNET and chief scientist at Hanson Robotics, the folks behind worldwide superstar robot Sophia) to Dr Wanli Min (chief machine intelligence scientist at China’s Alibaba Cloud) to Amy Webb (founder of the Future Today Institute and Washington Post best-selling author with more than seven million views for her TED talk on data that’s been translated into no fewer than 32 different languages) to Taryn Southern (singer, songwriter and YouTube star with more than 750 million views, as well as the first artist to release a solo music album composed by AI) and many, many more, to say the talks were fascinating would be an understatement.

Speaking to assembled media, H.E. Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, director general of Smart Dubai, said artificial intelligence can help improve humanity by making people’s lives easier – and happier.

“Some people think AI will take away jobs. AI will create opportunities,” she explained.

She added: “Our vision is to make Dubai the happiest city [in the world] by enabling infrastructure.”

Innovation, she added, is the key to much of this – not just smart cities, but happier people in those smart cities.

Judging by the sheer amount of innovation on display at Ai Everything, we should all be smiling indeed.

Huawei's booth at Ai Everything at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

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