“The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn't something you await, but rather create.” This is the famous Sheikh Mohammed's quotes on Dubai's Museum of the Future inspires beholders.
The Museum sits his presence in the heart of Dubai’s business district. An impressive iconic structure thought from the Dubai Future Foundation, led personally by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai. The facade of the Museum features three quotes from Sheikh Mohammed in a 3-D engraving in classical Arabic calligraphy by Emirati artist Mattar bin Lahej, and large CNC computer robotic arms were employed to fix each of the facade’s 1,024 polished stainless-steel panels. At night, the 8.7 miles of programmable LED lights illuminate the calligraphy, making it a dramatic visual addition to downtown Dubai. To learn more about this Museum, we met Khalfan Belhoul, CEO at Dubai Future Foundation.
Mr. Belhoul, how is it possible to showcase the future? What the visitors can experience indoor?
“Utilizing a variety of virtual and augmented reality, big data analysis, artificial intelligence, and human machine interaction installations and displays, the museum takes the visitors on a voyage into the future through the framework of five chapters, suggesting the idea of an unfurling global narrative. One minute, you are in Dubai 2022; the next, you’re in the first chapter: a space-station in the outer reaches of the galaxy, OSS Hope, in 2071, exploring how human beings are at the forefront of space technology”.
So exciting. And what’s about next chapters?
“Chapter 2 takes visitors to the Heal Institute, the first section set in a dazzling digital re-creation of the Amazon in Leticia, Colombia. They subsequently encounter the ‘Vault of Life’, an illuminated immersive installation consisting of a DNA library of 2,400 species, carefully selected from millions of species to catalog the World’s incredible biodiversity, as well as a laboratory of experimental species, all designed to compel the viewers to consider the impact of climate change. The subsequent chapters explore other iterations of future, such as a mind-body calibration in the ‘Al Waha’ chapter; how we might access today’s emerging technologies for tomorrow’s gain in ‘Tomorrow Today’; and, finally, ‘Future Heroes’, which focuses on young people already thinking through solutions to the climate crisis".
Museums usually show the past, the heritages. Why the future?
“The Museum of the Future is different to any other conventional museum. It’s a living museum which will constantly be renewed, enhanced and enriched over time. This aspect deliberately reflected in the flexible nature of the museum’s interior architecture, a fluid, multi-storied, and pillarless space that is highly adaptable and open for interpretation for future programming. The Museum of the Future constitutes an unparalleled opportunity for a new generation to become part of the future and all its aspects”.
The “Today Tomorrow” section looks impressive, can you tell us more about this chapter?
“Today Tomorrow” for example, takes as a reference point the question posed by influential architect Cedric Price in 1966, ‘Technology is the answer but, what was the question?’. On view are more than 50 exhibits on how exactly technology has been essential to shaping our future, including prototypes and current products focusing on areas such as waste management, environment, food security, agriculture, irrigation, and city planning. Whether it is discovering Notpla, a biodegradable material that aims to replace single-use plastic packaging, or methods to permanently store carbon dioxide that would limit the amount of emissions entering the atmosphere, the exhibit presents the multiple, diverse kinds of research occurring in different parts of the world. While other sections focus more on engaging the viewers’ imagination and senses, ‘Today Tomorrow’ stands out not only for effectively drawing attention to today’s most pressing environmental-related questions but also presenting how technology is bridging the transition of abstract ideas into tangible, accessible forms to create feasible solutions".
How do you feed worldwide ‘future thoughts’?
“The Museum of the Future has so far hosted a series of ‘Future Talks’ with innovators, scientists and prominent figures from leading industries on a diverse array of subjects. Huge people like Oussama Khatib, director of Stanford Robotic Lab at Stanford University, who spoke about how our oceans hold the answers to critical existential questions and the ways in which humans and robots can collaborate together to navigate the oceans. Or Alex Kipman, Microsoft’s vice president of Artificial Intelligence and mixed reality, explored the future and potential of the Metaverse.
Not only, in addition to having a research publishing arm, the Museum of the Future will also serve as headquarters for the Great Arab Minds fund, a five-year initiative, with AED 100 million ($27.2 million) in funding from the Dubai government to create ‘the Arab world’s largest movement designed to search for exceptional talents among Arab scientists, thinkers, and innovators across key fields, aiming to highlight leading thinkers in the region and inspire young people with their example’”.