10-02-2019

The latest thinking from world experts and futurists on consumerism, technology and globalisation.


Dubai, February 2019: With the world in an ever-increasing state of flux, it can be hard to second guess what impact new developments will have on our lives. Should we be excited by the tantalising possibilities of what lies ahead, or fearful of the transformation brought about by artificial intelligence? Get a glimpse of what the future holds at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature (1-9 March 2019), where the world’s leading experts and futurists will share insights into consumerism, technology and globalisation.

Future Worlds

Named one of the top 100 most influential people in Europe by Wired Magazine, futurist Gerd Leonhard’s remarkable grasp on how recent breakthroughs will affect our lives covers everything from the future of music to the transformations sweeping the business sphere.In his book Technology vs Humanity, he looks at the imminent clash between technology and humanity – will it alter the meaning of being human? Learn how to navigate the coming changes from an inspiring speaker.


The Future World strand also features America’s most celebrated transportation guru, Sam Schwartz, a.k.a. ‘Gridlock Sam’, on how the driverless vehicle revolution will transform our cities. Is the revolution just around the corner? Schwartz will also join General Director of Artificial Intelligence at Dubai Police, Brigadier Khalid Nasser Alrazooqi to assess how AI is expected to change the future of cities and assess whether the transformation has already begun in Dubai.

Richard Baldwin, one of the world’s leading globalization experts, calls the combination of globalisation and robotics ‘globotics’, and warns that the inhuman speed of this transformation threatens to overwhelm us, and disrupt the working lives of millions in unprecedented ways. Prepare for an uncertain future by learning more about the globotics upheaval.

Baldwin will be taking the discussion forward in a panel session which considers ‘The Job Machine – Are We Becoming Obsolete?’ Joining him will be Sam Schwartz and Dawn Metcalfe, executive coach and leadership expert, in this discussion about our relationship with our jobs, and societies in a changing world of artificial intelligence – what are we contributing that makes us irreplaceable as a workforce?

Douglas Coupland is a hugely influential figure in contemporary literature and visual art, who since the publication of his debut novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture in 1991 has been a major commentator on the effects of consumerism and technology on our lives and culture. He will discuss his insights into the world of 2019 in an up-to-the-minute conversation with his friend and Age of Earthquakes co-author Shumon Basar.

Research Scientist Lewis Dartnell, known for his work, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch, take us back to the future in his new book, Origins: How the Earth Made Us. It looks at the human story from the perspective of the planetary forces that shaped our biology and history – not about what we’ve done to our environment, but about what our environment has done to us. In this captivating talk, Professor Dartnell unravels the story of humanity and reveals the chains of consequences that explain why things are the way they are.

The limits of the human race are still being discovered, and in particular the impact of our genetic make-up. So what does it take to be Superhuman? Just how much potential does our species have? What are the secrets of long life and happiness? Evolutionary biologist Rowan Hooper assesses the science of peak potential, reviewing the role of genetics. This is a fascinating, eye-opening and inspiring celebration of the best that the current human species has to offer. But if we push ourselves, how far can we go?

The impact of genetics is also considered by Dr Giles Yeo who presents programmes such as BBC’s critically acclaimed Horizon: Clean Eating – The Dirty Truth, which sparked a national debate in 2017. He has dedicated more than 20 years to studying how genes influence our relationship with food. Are our genes to blame for the obesity epidemic?  Will our genetic make-up shape our diets in the future?

The Future of Food

With recent warnings that humanity is on a tight schedule to get its act together, we find ourselves looking more and more at sustainability, and the way we eat is no exception. This is a hard-hitting session on the future of food featuring Danish food writer and chef Trine Hahneman, an enthusiastic advocate for sustainable solutions, organic sourcing and food cooked with love. She will be joining environmentalist and conservationist HE Dr Majid Al Qassimi, Director of Animal Health and Development at the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, discussing the steps we all need to take to ensure that the food we eat is sustainable. What impact will this have on our social and cultural concept of meals and on our environment?

Is the Future Social?

Do we live in an age of distraction or greater connectedness, and what will our social lives look like in the future? Weighing in on whether or not social media can be a force for good in mental health, personal safety and community are Annabel Kantaria, whose latest domestic thriller I Know You revolves around the dangers of social media; Katherine Ormerod, the author of Why Social Media is Ruining Your Life; and author, psychologist and relationship expert Ty Tashiro, who is known for his expertise on the science of relationships and online dating.

The Festival programme is brimming with sessions to engage, entertain and inform, with topics encompassing fiction, history, current affairs, food, health, travel, biography, business and more.  There are opportunities to appreciate poetry, take part in creative writing workshops and generally indulge in intelligent and articulate discussion on a wide range of topics. Sessions appeal to all ages and nationalities, featuring outstanding authors, thinkers and opinion formers.

The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature is held in partnership with Emirates Airline and the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (Dubai Culture), the Emirate’s dedicated authority for heritage, arts, and culture. It is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai.

For the full list of authors, visit emirateslitfest.com/authors

More information about the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature can be found online. The Emirates Airline Festival of Literature will take place 1-9 March 2019. Fans can keep up to date with #DubaiLitFest action on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and year-round news of #ELFDubai on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.