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9-year-old scientists will change the world using AI, quantum computing, hears Dubai Future Forum

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Artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing will enable “the age of the citizen scientist”, where young children are empowered to conduct science from their bedrooms that could change the world, the Dubai Future Forum heard today.

William Hurley, better known as *whurley, founder and CEO of Strangeworks, told the world’s largest gathering of futurists that a “huge lack of scientists” is stopping the world from solving its challenges. Just 0.1% of the global population are scientists and researchers, which is just 1 in every 1,000 humans.

“We need more scientists; it’s critical for the future of our species. Our system of creating scientists is broken,” *whurley said.

He said that to save itself, humanity needs millions more scientists, which AI and quantum computing – combined – can create.

“We’re going to see the age of citizen scientists. What if 8.1 billion people could all impact science by using their imagination?” *whurley told the audience.

“We always say children are our future. I disagree. The children are going to be the now. The inevitable outcome of this tech is that children are as impactful on this world as we are. A 9-year-old child could come up with science that will change the world.”

He added that children have superpowers many adults do not, including imagination, collaboration, empathy and curiosity.

The futurist also prophesied: “We’re probably going to see artificial general intelligence in the next 10 years, possibly before 2030. That would be revolutionary for our species and probably lead to the creation of a super intelligence in our future.”

Humanity in ‘crisis code red’

A panel session, titled ‘What Does the Future Hold for Us on Planet Earth’ heard how humanity is in “crisis code red”. Christine Gould from ‘Thought for Food’ said food systems “lie at the core of this emergency”, calling for a redesign of food systems.

Dr Ismahane Elouafi from CGIAR echoed the sentiment, saying the current food system has failed. “We have about 783 million people that go to bed hungry – we are failing humanity,” she said, adding: “We need the right policies, investors and collaborations.”

Prof. Marc Buckley from the ‘ALOHAS Regenerative Foundation’ said human suffering can be solved through a systematic approach. He asked why corporations are being allowed to operate “bad business models that hinder economic development”.

The second Dubai Future Forum, taking place on 27-28 November, hosts more than 150 speakers from around the globe, who are engaging in 70 dialogue sessions, keynote speeches, and workshops over two days. The discussions covers space, sustainability, environment, energy, food, health, medicine, education, technology, artificial intelligence, digital economy, governance, and much more.