Bashar Kilani, Digital Economy Advocate

Bashar, a seasoned corporate executive, has held senior leadership roles at Accenture and IBM, along with prestigious advisory board memberships in both industry and academia. He specialises in Digital Economy trends, facilitating the development of digital cores for both government & private sector organisations. As a thought leader and public speaker, Bashar focuses on the transformative impact of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Digital Twins and Cloud on automation, sustainability and the future of work. He actively mentors in the regional entrepreneurship community and has played key roles in visionary initiatives like the Digital Economy Chamber, Dubai Future Council for Healthcare & Wellbeing, AI Ethics Council, Dubai 10X, Next 50 Report, One Million Arab Coders, Dubai Metaverse Assembly and more.


Artificial Intelligence evolved from mere tools that “do” stuff to sophisticated communicators, mastering language nuances, understanding sentiment, and even surpassing human intelligence on various fronts. Today, they transcend functionality to become assistants, tutors, bosses, customers, friends – and potentially adversaries like bullies and thieves, taking on roles as diverse as our own. The march of technology, especially the looming advent of a version of large language models that is 1000 times more capable than the current version, which already has an IQ higher than that of the average person, propels humanity into an unprecedented era.

The implications stretch beyond productivity gains to redefine our very existence. With their potential to elevate education, healthcare, and food security, these machines offer a pathway to a world of prosperity and abundance. The benefits of AI can significantly improve the lives of two billion people at the bottom of the economic pyramid by improving healthcare, education and well-being. Yet, as with any monumental shift, there are shadows that must not be overlooked. As we stand at this technological crossroads, the impact of AI on jobs, businesses, and purpose beckons our attention. It calls for a societal reorganisation to navigate the upcoming ethical, social, economic, and technological realities.

Our challenge is two-fold: harnessing AI for wealth creation, health improvement, and climate change mitigation while addressing the inevitable disruptions.

1. Redefining Jobs, Businesses, and Purpose:

The transformation in employment dynamics is profound. As AI automates routine tasks, the job market undergoes a seismic shift. The discussion extends beyond retraining the workforce to fundamental questions about the purpose of work and its role in shaping human identity. How do we redefine careers in a world where the traditional employment landscape is rapidly evolving? These are not just economic considerations but touch the very core of societal values. With Generative AI, the workforce is transformed through creativity as well as productivity, impacting white-collar as much as blue-collar jobs. Humanity will witness an economic transformation like never before.

In the past, civilisation aimed to enhance lives, not merely create jobs. The surge in AI prompts discussions about new economic realities that examine taxing machines, universal income distribution, and a re-evaluation of fundamental concepts like work, career, and retirement.

2. Concentration of Power and Wealth:

How do we ensure that the benefits of AI are distributed equitably and that the digital divide does not become an insurmountable chasm? Addressing these concerns requires proactive measures in policy-making and technological design.

The emergence of dominant AI platforms positions the owners of these platforms as the new landlords or factory overlords while users become digital peasants or workers. Imagine a digital platform where content creators use GenAI to produce more content at better quality while the platform uses AI to present the consumer with an increasingly attractive variety of content with the aim of keeping them on the platform for as long as possible. A continuous cycle of content creation and consumption amplifies the power and wealth divide, necessitating careful consideration of wealth creation and distribution. In this era, data has become the new currency, and those who control the algorithms wield unprecedented influence. This centralisation of power raises questions about access, equity, and fairness.

3. The End of Truth and the Rise of Deep Fake:

In the AI-dominated landscape, distinguishing truth from fiction becomes a formidable challenge. Deep fakes blur reality, prompting fierce global competition for AI dominance and the associated competitive advantages. The rise of deep fakes poses a threat not only to individuals but to the very fabric of information integrity. The battle between truth and misinformation intensifies, leading to an urgent need for robust authentication mechanisms. Nations vie for supremacy in the AI space, recognising its potential not just in economic terms but as a tool for shaping narratives and influencing global perspectives.

4. Ethical Considerations:

How do we ensure that AI systems are designed and deployed with fairness and accountability in mind? The ethical considerations extend beyond technical aspects to societal values. Initiatives such as ethical AI certifications and industry-wide ethical standards become imperative to guide the responsible development and use of AI technologies.

The ethical dimensions of AI encompass issues such as bias in algorithms, data privacy, and the moral responsibility of creators. Striking a balance between innovation and ethical considerations is paramount.

5. The Role of Policy and Regulation:

AI, akin to electricity in the last century, is an omni-technology, impacting everything and everyone. Rather than attempting to regulate the technology itself, a strategic approach involves regulating the use cases and applications. Reflecting on past successes and failures – regulating aviation triumphantly yet falling short in collective climate actions – policy leaders, tech giants, and industries must unite to prepare for the impending AI era.

The challenge lies in crafting policies that strike a delicate balance – fostering innovation while safeguarding societal well-being. This involves proactive collaboration between governments, industry players, and the academic community. Policymakers must grapple with questions of data ownership, cross-border data flows, and international cooperation in a landscape where boundaries are increasingly blurred.

As we navigate this uncharted territory, the choices we make today will shape the future of humanity. The era of AI beckons, and it’s time for leaders across sectors to collaboratively sculpt policies that guide us toward a future where machines serve humanity, not the other way around. The journey ahead demands not just technological acumen but a profound understanding of what it means to be human in an era where our creations mirror and, in some aspects, surpass us. This is not just a revolution in technology; it’s a revolution in our very essence. As we stand on the brink of the AI era, let us forge a path that leads us not only to technological brilliance but to a more humane and compassionate future.

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