Robo-Coffee, AIce-cream and artificial pAIn detection — welcome to DubAI!

Johannes Hussak
Sep 4, 2019 · 5 min read
AI Summit Dubai entrance

Ever heard of Mr. Omar Al Olama? He is Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence in the United Arab Emirates and the only Minister for artificial intelligence worldwide. With his work and multiple programs, Dubai aims to become the world’s most innovative city by 2021. If you ever wondered what it means to work together on this great vision and what we can learn from this innovation-driven country, here are some insights about Robo-Coffees, AIce-Cream, artificial Coffee-Bot and pAIn detection.

Me at the AI Summit in Dubai
Me at the AI Summit in Dubai
Welcome to DubAI

This year’s AI summit in the UAE calls itself modestly “The Year’s Most Anticipated & Empowering AI Summit”. Regarding pomp and staging, it really was an impressive show.

The AI-UX starts with the registration. Of course, I didn’t just register via a form or and ID-scan. Instead, I registered with facial recognition — comfortable on my couch via the camera of my laptop.

Once I arrived at the summit, I automatically got my batch after smiling into a camera and being recognized again. Having the batch dangling in front of my chest, I entered the summit through a dark tunnel with thousands of blinking lights. At the end of the tunnel, I arrived in paradAIs.

The first booth I saw was the Microsoft booth with a screen that recognized my age and my mood. I guess the AI also learned how to be polite — it made me two years younger and analyzed my mood as neutral. Having a neutral mood, I saw a massive queue at the other side of the Microsoft booth. But what were they queueing for? You probably guessed right — they were queueing for AIce-cream.

In order to get some AIce-cream, I had to step in front of a camera where an AI analyzed my mimics and mood and then told me which ice cream I needed/deserved/had to eat. I got strawberry cheesecake AIce cream — it would help me to stay upbeat, the AI said.

Me getting some AIce cream
Me getting some AIce cream
Can’t wait for the AIce cream

Continuing my exploration through the fair with an upgraded positive upbeat mood, the advertising of a pain detection tool caught my attention. The company promised to detect and measure pain even if patients are unable to communicate. I was curious and dug deeper.

They told me that they use an AI that supports them in the sentimental analysis to detect the pain which will be measured on the “internationally accepted PSPI scale”. If you want to know what this looks like, have a look at this video. However, if you just want to know if giving birth is more painful than Olympic weight lifting, go check out this video instead.

Wonder about the accuracy? Well, the official statement is: “The accuracy of the pain detection tool is similar to that of well-trained humans”. Any more questions?!

Machine Learning Cheat Sheet Teaser
Machine Learning Cheat Sheet Teaser

After a while, I needed a break, so I started to search for a coffee. Luckily, I discovered CoBo the Coffee Bot. CoBo took a cup, placed it under the coffee machine, pressed the right button and gave me the coffee cup. If you ask me, CoBo could be able to do this task without any trAIning…. Nevertheless, I was very satisfied with his work — too bad that he could not analyze my satisfaction at that moment (CoBo had no eyes). But honestly: in my opinion, it doesn’t make sense to use AI robots for such a simple task but technically it was quite impressing. That’s why I was satisfied.

The Coffee Bot
The Coffee Bot
Thanks for the Coffee, CoBo!

Guided by service robots, I also met some of their colleagues: one of them was playing basketball, another one was drawing, and another robot was playing piano for another robot which was dancing just in step — what a time to be alive.

But why am I telling you this? Why is everything AI even though there is no training at all or it’s simple logic or parameterization? If you take a closer look, maybe we should ask another question: is all of the AI only hype in DubAI?

Different robots
Different robots
Some more robots I discovered during the event

With expert eyes, one can argue that there is a lot of hype around the field of AI, not just in Dubai. Actually, most of the showcases are just an API call to Azure. However, the impressive thing in Dubai is the joy and excitement, that the people have towards emerging technologies as well as the creativity and will to make use of these new technologies.

Join Motius Teaser
Join Motius Teaser

While emerging technologies are often seen as potential threats in Germany, they are seen way more positive here in the UAE. Soon, I want to expand this discussion and compare how new technologies are approached in Germany and the EU vs. how they are approached in the UAE.

For now, I hope to bring some of the excitement and joy about emerging technologies to Germany and help companies in Germany to reduce suspension towards AI. By the way: there was always a human asking people if they like the proposed AIce-cream — if not they could still choose their preferred ice-cream 😊

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