Tech it from us: We are living the geek dream in UAE
The UAE has been and continues to be a hotbed of innovation.
A decade ago - really, at any certain point in the past - the dawn of the 'most advanced' thingamajigs of that era made everything easy and convenient: One phone call and you'd have the nearest cafeteria satisfying your cravings; a few minutes of browsing on the transport authority's website and you'll know when the next bus would come; need a loan? You'll get approved in 'only' seven to 10 days.
In hindsight, all those seem to be an exaggeration compared to what we enjoy nowadays. We can detail each, but saying 'there's an app for that' will settle the issue: From contactless payments to e-commerce and transport services to food delivery, everything is easier now - even a loan can get approved in mere minutes.
The UAE has been and continues to be a hotbed of innovation. No wonder big-ticket names set up shop here, offering only the best - sometimes even straight out of erstwhile science-fiction - to meet the demands of what is considered to be one of the most tech-savvy places in the globe.
And it all begins at the top, and the UAE's leadership has ensured that these high-tech initiatives - with the cooperation of all tech stakeholders and the with-open-arms acceptance of residents - flow to every last capillary of society, akin to a well-oiled machine in which tech is the one flowing through it.
"We have undergone a long process from being a traditional government to a smart one. Today, we are a government of the future and can lead in the area of AI (artificial intelligence) and technology," Omar bin Sultan Al Olama, UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, said at a summit earlier this month in Abu Dhabi.
The winners, of course, are us. Innovation is born out of necessity; it doesn't matter if you're a child or an elderly, a rank-and-file employee or a top corporate honcho - technology, and the ease of access to it, just levels the playing field.
It is right to say what a difference a decade makes. But given this fast-paced world, we wonder what time frame we'd substitute for 'decade' come the dawn of the 2030s.
THE GEEK BOX: WILL THERE BE AN APP FOR THAT?
Since there's no such thing as a crystal ball akin to those you see in fiction and fortune-telling is a very questionable undertaking, it's pretty difficult to predict the next wave of 'wows' in the tech space. So, we conducted a little survey to make it a little bit 'factual'.
Khaleej Times asked around to find out the wackiest wishes users would want to see in the future of tech. And after each quote, we'll give our take.
The rule is simple: It should be outrageous, but feasible. For reference, this scribe wants to see a smartphone that has a Swiss Army knife built into it. Hey, you can't open a bottle or pry something loose with an app, right?
> Phone by day, fishing rod near sea
"What I really want to see is some way for mobile manufacturers to include a small, collapsible fishing rod in the phone of the future - bait included of course. Living in the UAE means that you are almost always close to the sea and it is always handy to have a fishing rod in your pocket if you are fond of spending a day fishing in the water."
Mustafa Subhani, events manager in Dubai
- Our take: That would either be one big phone, or one which size is what we're used to today with a very strong fishing line. In any case, the device itself must have a higher IP rating and sturdy enough not to break in the event you hook up a 50kg king salmon.
> It's a trimmer, it's a coffee maker, it's a super phone
"One of the two features that I'd love to see in the mobile phone of the future is a beard trimmer; life has gotten so fast-paced we may not have time to groom. Imagine you're driving, speaking on the phone or checking your e-mail while trimming your beard. The second - and most important - an espresso maker, just like how we plug in a capsule into a coffee maker."
Ali Sharif, entrepreneur in Dubai
- Our take: Well, that would require a really big battery and some really complicated chipset - with a motor. Fittingly, why not throw in a capability to spew out two types of cream - shaving and dairy - to give that full experience?
"I would like my smartphone to have the ability to serve me my food instantly. It would not only be convenient for people like me who miss breakfast daily, but it would also save me a lot of time. Just imagine having being able to order anything from and having it served in time to satisfy your cravings."
Safa Yakoob, media relations professional in Dubai
- Our take: The keyword here is 'instant'; We are assuming this means a feature would command some contraption to serve you akin to Tony Stark's loyal assistants in the Iron Man films. To be fair, today you can order in advance - the only question is will you be hungry at that time?
> A career in responsibility
"Every device should have a built-in app to keep a clean environment. For instance, it should detect litter and report it to the municipality and reward users through loyalty programmes. Also, an app that helps unleash your creativity and helps to understand what your true talent, hobby or career choice is. The process could be the app asks you what are you looking for - talent, hobby or career choice - then proceeds to give you quizzes; depending on the results, it advises you and gives you a professional online trainer."
Anna D'Mello, student in Sharjah
- Our take: Amusing that the most serious stuff comes from a 12-year-old, the youngest of the lot. Sweetheart, we salute your vision and wish you all the success in the future.
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