Intellectual capital seen as crucial for nations' future prosperity

'Capital of mind and a treasure of data will grease the wheels of industries,' says a US expert at World in the Future conference in Dubai

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - February 26, 2019:  Michio Kaku speaks about the world in the future and the role of humanity in the next 30 years at the World in the Future event. Tuesday the 26th of February 2019 at World trade centre, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Governments should focus on the development of human intellectual capital to ensure the prosperity of industries and societies, said experts at the World in the Future conference in Dubai on Tuesday.

“We have a new basis for wealth generation that is intellectual capital. There is a capital of mind and a treasure of data that will grease the wheels of industries,” said Michio Kaku, a US theoretical physicist and futurist.

In the past, nations that had abundant natural resources became rich but now this trend has changed, said Mr Kaku. Countries such as Singapore, with virtually no natural resources, have come to the forefront.

“While countries with abundance of natural resources are falling apart, such as Venezuela. It will be easier for countries to leapfrog in the future if they have the correct vision along with human intellectual capital,” he added.

The World in the Future event was organised by the UAE’s Ministry of Finance to celebrate innovation and innovators, and was part of the ministry’s participation in the UAE Innovation Month.

Speakers also spoke about transformation of governments and said citizens would become the primary value creators for societies.

“They [governments] will not exist in the future, they will work as only enablers,” said Ross Dawson, an Australian author, futurist and former stockbroker.

“We will move to a world that will be far more participatory and citizens themselves will be empowered to create value for society.”

At the same time, governments should create conducive environments for entrepreneurs to ensure their contribution in nation building.

“Governments should reduce regulations while tax policies should encourage entrepreneurs. In the US, I started my own company just on my cell phone, while it’s not possible in many other countries,” said Mr Kaku.

Praising Dubai’s progress, he said the emirate had become a beacon for many nations.

“Dubai has a vision for future. It is like a shining light for many other countries on what you could do with an educated and unified population.”

In Dubai, start-ups make up 50 per cent of the companies registered and employ half of the workforce, according to a study by Dubai SME, an agency of the Department of Economic Development.