The world of the early 1900s is one that is almost entirely alien to those living today. Life was plagued by diseases like smallpox and polio, and people who were separated by vast distances were, for all intents and purposes, totally cutoff from the outside world. Indeed, technology—in any form—had yet to infiltrate a vast majority of homes.

Fast-forward to today, and smallpox and polio (along with a host of other deadly diseases) have been virtually eradicated, and people are connected to one another via a global network that allows them to speak to anyone from anywhere in just seconds. And if that’s not enough, the average individual carries a tiny (but amazingly powerful) computer around in their back pocket.

Over the course of the last century, science and technology have fundamentally reshaped both our lives and our society. But while these advancements have solved a host of problems and (quite literally) saved millions of lives, scientific and technological developments bring with them a host of new challenges—challenges that the government of Dubai is planning to try and solve, thanks to the Dubai Future Accelerators program.

Accelerating Solutions

Today, we are on the cusp of realizing a number of scientific and technological breakthroughs that will cause monumental shifts in our society. The promise is great: Advances in artificial intelligence and robotics could automate a number of tasks and make life easier than ever before; developments in genomics could allow us to end disease (and possibly even aging) as we know it; and technologies like 3D printing could allow us to customize and recycle the world around us.

But before we get there, there are a number of challenges that must be solved.

To that end, the Dubai Future Accelerators' mission is to connect some of the world’s most innovative companies with leading partners in the government in order to deploy viable futuristic prototypes at a city-wide scale. Their goal is to actually test the technologies that could be the solutions to some of the challenges that plague modern society.

Specifically, they are focusing on work that can help solve challenges in one of the following seven key areas: AI (artificial intelligence) and robotics, genomics, 3D printing, distributed ledgers, biomimicry and biotechnology, and the development of new business models and more efficient ways of working.

The Dubai Future Accelerators' website outlines the specific challenges that they hope to address. For example, they plan to prototype automated transportation systems that not only cut congestion, but also reduce CO2 emissions across all modes. They are also working to develop integrated behavioral and genetic systems that can identify, track, and share information on criminals with 10x more accuracy and 10x more efficiency. They plan to reduce water and energy consumption by a factor of 10, create personalized learning solutions that work across curriculums, use genetic information to expedite diagnostic testing and, in short, bring a host of futuristic technologies and sustainable solutions to life.

Want to know more? You can learn about the specific solutions being addressed in the infographic below.

Dubai Future Accelerators

How to Join the Fray

Ultimately, the Dubai Future Accelerators is an intensive 12-week program that is going to unite leading and innovative companies with key partners in Dubai in order to foster and create breakthrough solutions. In an official release, Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, who is also vice-chairman of Dubai Future Foundation, said: “We invite all those across the world who want to create a better future to come to Dubai and help us create a better future."

So anyone can apply (whether it is a newly founded start-up, a long established company, or an innovative entrepreneur). As long as you have a working prototype ("working" is key here) that addresses one of the challenges shown above, you are in the running. The companies that are selected will work to develop in-depth proposals to create futuristic pilot projects that best showcase the benefits of their technology.

Interested? Here's what it comes with:

Dubai Future Accelerators

So, if you think that you might have a product or service that can be used to address one of the problems listed above, consider applying at the website by sending along a proposal, and if selected, you could be heading to Dubai to help bring solutions to some of our most pressing problems to life.

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