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Mon 11 Feb 2019 11:13 AM

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Will.i.am, MAF planning to build 'a tech company the size of Amazon'

Both companies are partnering on voice-based shopping solution that MAF's CEO said could also be the "future of living"

Will.i.am, MAF planning to build 'a tech company the size of Amazon'
Grammy winning music producer Will.i.am

Grammy winning music producer Will.i.am is convinced Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) group could become a company the size of tech giant Amazon.

On Twitter, the musician-turned-technologist posted a message on MAF’s account saying, “If you thought MAF was not a tech company the size of Amazon, think again. Let’s go.”

The artist’s technology company I.AM + earlier this month entered into a commercial partnership with the Dubai-based retailer, it’s first ever, to provide voice-based AI powered assistance to shoppers via a device that resembles Amazon’s Alexa.

“With this company I started my idea was to create a conversational AI for humanity. Not mimic the business models of today’s giants but provide aomething thst would enrich people’s lives,” he said in conversation with Arabian Business at the World Government Summit yesterday.

“Data is the new oil, data is the new power. And personal AI is more important than the personal computer today,” he added.

Called Omega, the voice-based operating system will be sold at Carrefourre and Vox Cinemas before being rolled “across our entire ecosystem,” according to MAF’s CEO Allain Beijani who heads the group overall including it’s retail function, shopping malls, properties and hospitality division.

“The solution is currently being rolled out in English and will be followed by Arabic soon in 2019,” he said.

“Will has a great vision in what he wants to do with AI for humanity,” Beijani told Arabian Business. “At Majid Al Futtaim, out vision is to create great moments for everyone. We believe in the power of digital and also that voice is the future of shopping as well as living. So together we think our combined vision can better people’s lives.”

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