Will ChatGPT take my job? It could, says UAE expert

Educators are using artificial intelligence (AI) in classrooms to improve learning process


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Fri 17 Mar 2023, 4:07 PM

Last updated: Fri 17 Mar 2023, 11:10 PM

A Dubai professor shared an alarming experiment he conducted in his class for PhD students. “One of my students had a ChatGPT premium account and we decided to come up with a list of five topics for a PhD thesis that would be meaningful over the next five years,” said Dr. Khalid Al Murri from the British University in Dubai.

“And I have to admit I failed. ChatGPT came up with a list that was better than mine.”

Dr. Khalid was speaking at a panel discussion on the second day of the ‘Remote’ conference held in Dubai recently about why he thinks modern technology could be a threat to employment.

At an earlier session, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State and President of Zayed University (ZU) quoted an OECD report that said that 1.8 billions jobs will be made obsolete because of technology while talking about exploring the opportunities and challenges in remote higher education.

However, Zaki Anwar Nusseibah, Cultural Advisor to the President of the UAE and Chancellor of the UAE University, said that teachers could overcome this challenge by educating and upskilling their students effectively. “We need to coach them to adopt a new mentality that teaches them that continuous self-development,” he said.

“They need to learn flexibility and resilience. Knowing and meeting the demands of future job opportunities is not a luxury any more, it is a necessity.”

He also highlighted that the education system needs an overhaul. “Students go to university to specialize in one major,” he said. “But that trend is nearing its end. It is now not enough for a physician to just learn science. They have to acquire other skills too. They need to know math to handle big data. They need to know social studies and so many other topics.”

Al Kaabi agreed with him and quoted. “The main factor in education is the rapid change in technology,” she said. “How do we make sure that the syllabus offers multidisciplinary studies? Also, we have AI. It has these skills. What does that technology lack? Students have to think, how can I make sure that the machine does not replace me. They have to work on their critical thinking and emotional intelligence. These are aspects that machines cannot replace.”

Using AI in classrooms

Meanwhile, educators in the UAE are using artificial intelligence (AI) in classrooms to improve the learning process. Al Kaabi explained how they were utilizing AI to study their students.

“At Zayed University, we have a platform that rates the interaction of students,” she said. “At the same time, we also make sure that we have a certain per cent of knowledge is being absorbed.

We measured it and we were also able to see up to what per cent the students were able to grasp the topic. This helped us know how students were able to learn. It was both a challenge and opportunity at the same time.”

Dr. Al Murri mentioned how universities around the world were preparing to utilize the metaverse for teaching. “I attended a conference about metaverse where it was mentioned that 25% of the education sector will be involved in utilizing the metaverse to replace physical activities. Some experiments show that using metaverse for education can be cost-effective by up to 60%.”

Here in the UAE, several government departments including the Dubai Municipality have begun utilizing metaverse for their food safety campaign. A DM spokesperson had told Khaleej Times how inspectors were taught about food safety hazards, temperature control and food handling among other things in the metaverse.


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