A sneak peek into Xpanse: World’s first forum for exponential technologies
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A sneak peek into Xpanse: World’s first forum for exponential technologies

A sneak peek into Xpanse: World’s first forum for exponential technologies

Dr Zina Jarrahi Cinker, director general of MATTER, reveals key details about one of the biggest events of the year set to come to Abu Dhabi in November

Marisha Singh

The creators of the acclaimed tech gathering Puzzle X Barcelona, in partnership with Capital Events and ADNEC Group, are launching Xpanse—a pioneering event integrating three key elements: a world-class thought leadership forum, an immersive experiential agenda, and a 365-day ecosystem-building engine.

Scheduled for November 20-22, 2024, at the ADNEC Center in Abu Dhabi, Xpanse will gather 3,000 global leaders, including Nobel laureates, CEOs, ministers, and scientists, to explore exponential technologies such as quantum AI, fusion energy, and Artificial General Intelligence (AGI).

“XPANSE is not an event. It is a bold mission to co-create in the age of exponential technologies,” said Dr Zina Jarrahi Cinker, director general of MATTER, an international think tank of 30 country chapters.

Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, managing director and group CEO of ADNEC Group, emphasised, “Hosting this groundbreaking convening model reflects ADNEC Group’s strategy of attracting major global gatherings that contribute to Abu Dhabi’s reputation as a capital for innovation and business tourism.”

Hamad Abdulla Al Hammadi, deputy CEO of ADQ, noted, “Our collaboration with XPANSE advances Abu Dhabi’s innovation journey, fostering a knowledge-driven economy.”

Darren Johnson, CEO of Capital Events, added, “We are committed to placing Abu Dhabi at the heart of global innovation, showcasing cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking solutions.”

Gulf Business spoke to Dr Zina Jarrahi Cinker, director general of MATTER as she gets ready to unveil XPANSE’s inaugural edition in Abu Dhabi.

Q. What is MATTER bringing to Abu Dhabi come November 2024. Could you tell us about it, and your collaboration with Capital Events and ADQ?

We’re thrilled about this unique initiative. Xpanse 2024 is unlike anything seen before, and it’s fascinating how we ended up in Abu Dhabi.

A bit about myself—I am a physicist and scientist. We have an event called Puzzle X in partnership with the city of Barcelona, which has been very successful over the past three years. Various cities approached us to bring the event to them, and Abu Dhabi wasn’t initially on our radar.

Last year, while giving a keynote on physics and materials at the Dubai Opera House, I got a call from a longtime collaborator at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi. I decided to visit and was amazed by what was happening there with advanced material centers, the Emirati genome projects, AI, and more. This visit changed our perspective, and we saw Abu Dhabi as a fertile ground for Xpanse.

Xpanse is not just an event; it’s a seed planted in fertile ground. It needs the right environment to grow, and Abu Dhabi has the vision, partners, and leadership to support this. We found amazing partners in Capital Events and ADQ, who were instrumental in bringing this together.

Q. You mentioned that Xpanse will feature technology critical to our future, like quantum AI and brain-machine interfaces. Could you tell us more about that?

Absolutely. As a physicist, I’m excited about the cutting-edge science happening now that people are unaware of. Innovations in AI, quantum technologies, nanomaterials, and genomics are reaching maturity and converging in unexpected ways, accelerating advancements.

Leaders need to know what’s on the horizon to stay competitive. Many didn’t anticipate the rapid rise of AI, and we don’t want to repeat that mistake.

Our think tank MATTER brings together over 20,000 thought leaders and identifies emerging trends, translates them, and shares this knowledge with decision-makers. This ensures they are proactive, not reactive, to new developments.

Q. The topics you discuss are immense and impressive. As an attendee, what can we expect in terms of speakers and topics?

While I can’t reveal all themes yet, we will cover cutting-edge areas and bring together world-renowned thought leaders, including Nobel laureates, heads of research, Fortune 500 executives, investors, and government officials. Expanse focuses on intimate, high-impact interactions with a maximum of 2,500 attendees.

We prioritise the quality of connections and the innovations that emerge from these interactions.

Our KPI is not the number of attendees but the number of innovative projects that result from the event. We create an environment where thought leaders can collaborate and innovate, leading to meaningful advancements.

Q. Could you tell us about the legacy that Xpanse stems from? 

Xpanse builds on our experience with Puzzle X in Barcelona, but it’s a step up. With ADQ setting the table in Abu Dhabi, we’re taking it to a new level. Xpanse is not just an event; it’s an ecosystem-building initiative. We’re innovating the format of convening, making it more impactful and disruptive.

It is an opportunity to grow a seed in the region. It needs partners and thought leaders to join us. If you’re an innovator or key stakeholder, we welcome you to be part of this initiative.

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