AI can assist Academicians

LETTERS: As Malaysia aims to establish itself as a centre for education, research and innovation, it is crucial to understand the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on academia.

AI has the potential to revolutionise the education system by enabling personalised learning experiences.

By tailoring content and approaches to meet each student's needs, academicians can enhance engagement levels and improve learning outcomes.

Through AI algorithms that analyse data on students' learning styles, preferences and strengths, academics can gain insights into how to address diverse learning needs.

This is something that academicians may find hard to achieve manually.

As academicians grapple with increasing volumes of data, AI can help in data analysis leading to insights and more efficient research processes and even predict research trends.

These advancements can accelerate progress and foster groundbreaking innovations that contribute to Malaysia's growth as a research hub.

While AI presents opportunities, it also raises concerns. The issue of bias in AI algorithms poses a challenge in the context of Malaysian academia.

It is important to ensure that AI tools do not perpetuate biases found in data.

Given the emphasis on diversity and inclusion in Malaysia, it becomes crucial to develop unbiased AI systems, particularly when it comes to student admissions and scholarship allocation.

Similarly, concerns about cultural and language biases from AI-generated information that are rather Western-centric can potentially impact the perspectives in academia.

The most feared misconception about AI is probably that it will replace academicians.

The reality is more nuanced. More than ever before, academicians must play the vital role as facilitators, mentors and guides.

While AI can automate tasks, there are aspects of interaction, empathy and guidance that machines cannot replicate.

Academicians should view AI as a tool that complements their roles by relieving them of routine administrative burdens and allowing them to focus on fostering thinking skills and providing holistic learning experiences.

Academics need not compete with technology but focus on the cultivation of human skills, such as thinking and creativity.

Students must be encouraged to delve into problems, engage in discussions and nurture their creative thinking abilities.

This can prepare them for a future where adaptability and innovative thought are paramount.

These skills will not only contribute to individual growth but also play a vital role in propelling Malaysia's workforce on the global stage.

Consequently, it is also imperative that academics themselves embrace learning.

Educational institutions can establish avenues that enable academics to upgrade their skills and stay informed about AI advancements.

Professional development programmes focusing on integrating AI ethically can empower academics to harness the benefits of AI while ensuring usage.

In addition, Malaysian academicians should reassess the curricula by incorporating modules on AI ethics, machine learning and data analytics.

This will equip students with the proficiencies needed in an AI-driven world.

Pedagogical strategies should emphasise thinking, problem-solving and collaboration with students for a future where human creativity remains irreplaceable.

This necessitates efforts across disciplines. Computer scientists, academics, ethicists and social scientists must join forces to develop AI tools that align with Malaysia's values and address needs adequately.


Communication and Media Centre, International Islamic University Malaysia

The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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