Sharjah FDI Forum 2018 outlines future interactions between man and machine



Henrik Von Scheel, originator of the “4th Industrial Revolution”, mastermind of the German Digital Revolution, and Board Member of OECD National Competitive Council, unveiled for the first time in the world, an underlying FDI paradigm shift on the last day (Tuesday) of the fourth edition of Sharjah FDI Forum 2018.

Before the unveiling, the morning began with a rousing welcome address from Mohamed Juma Al Musharrkh, CEO of Sharjah FDI Office (Invest in Sharjah), and giving fruit to this knowledge-driven forum.

“The world is changing at an extraordinary speed and the map of the global economy is being reshaped according to the mutual interests of countries, economic entities, and social groups. It is essential that we learn how to cope with these developments and harness our network and knowledge to build a new global economy,” explained Al Musharrkh.

He noted: “This harness comes from the role that foreign investors have played in the UAE and in Sharjah, not only as agents of innovation and productivity, but also partners in supporting our current growth and the diversification of our current economy.”

Following that, Henrik Von Scheel took the stage to introduce a revolutionary paradigm shift to audiences of the forum. A venn diagram that revolves around four essential tangent of FDI: economy, business, social, and environment. He explained that by focusing on each element and their connectors, sustainability can be attained, which is the future of FDI growth.

“For economy and business to grow, proper training will have to be provided for the workforce to build on the necessary skillset. Entities will need to focus on where their resources come from – whether natural or otherwise. Environmental footprint as well as social aspects will need to be considered to create a sustainable model,” illustrated Henrik.

As the listeners digested Henrik’s elaborate pointers on FDI growth, the stage was prepped for the fourth panel discussion of the forum titled, “Man vs. Machine (Artificial Intelligence): the application and impact of AI on investment management, crypto currencies, market dynamics, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). What is the future of AI integration and how do we manage risk while maintaining growth in foreign direct investment?”

The longstanding argument of man vs machine was the central focus of the panel which led to discussions of education, employment, and development. While the need for human resources dwindle, new job profiles are created based on the fast-changing landscape of development. An air of optimism permeated the stage as each member explored the balance between man and machine.

“In the energy sector, usage of AI isn’t a competition between man and machine. It’s a better option for human safety and work-flow optimization. The whole industry is driven by data and AI’s presence is a mandate especially if you consider the working environment in drilling, for instance. From gauging pressure to ensuring safety, AI is a safer option,” explored Zaid Al Qufaidi, Managing Director of Retail at Emirates National Oil Company.

Stefan Hickmott, Founder and CEO at Evarei and the Evareium Investment Fund, highlighted on the financial sector, saying “there is always the human element required in our business. The question is who creates the AI or algorithm that we use? Is it human or machine? Certain jobs like customer service will always require the human touch but in trading, using an algorithm will definitely help you make better decisions.”

“Robotics and AI aren’t killing jobs, in fact they are optimizing businesses to function better. Businesses will undertake decisions to keep cost down but not compromise on good customer service which is provided by humans,” added Ali Kassab, Chief Executive Office, Centurion & Co.

Henrik Von Scheel said “academia will need to be transformed. There is no institute in the world that is preparing the future generation with the right tools. Quantum computing, artificial intelligence, neuro-technology, and much more should be introduced early-on in the curriculum if we want a knowledgeable-workforce in a job market that is narrowing into specific niches.”

The fourth edition sought to boost the emirate’s endeavors to attract more foreign investments, promote opportunities in main sectors, and strengthen the UAE’s position as a top investment destination in the region and the entire world. — SG