UAE schools and educationists are understandably cautious over how students use the AI-linked portal. But that doesn't mean there are actual use-cases for businesses. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Academic institutions in the UAE have already brought in safeguards against ChatGPT-inspired ‘copy-paste’ submissions from their students – but there could be much more of actual use-cases for such AI technology.

To keep up with demand from over 100 million worldwide users within two months of the release, the Microsoft-backed ChatGPT launched an upgraded service version – for a monthly subscription of $20. Clearly, there are more than students making up those numbers.

As the UAE Minister of Education Dr. Ahmed Belhoul AlFalasi says it, “Don’t demonise AI as it will be a part of our lives.” The Minister was delivering a speech written entirely by ChatGPT at the World Government Summit in Dubai.

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For the record, the UAE aims to be a world leader in AI by 2031 and boost the GDP by around 35 per cent ($ 96 billion) using these technologies. Microsoft, meanwhile, has announced a ‘multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment’ in the tech behind ChatGPT.

Don’t demonise AI as it will be a part of our lives.

- Dr. Ahmed Belhoul AlFalasi, UAE Minister of Education

Already, small businesses in the UAE are using ChatGPT to perform tasks such as write blogs and job descriptions. All this must be done while fool-proofing systems against cyber-attacks.

ChatGPT’s ‘real’ value

What of more practical uses? AlFalasi said UAE’s education system would include ‘digital teachers’ supported by AI to contribute to the development of teaching methods. Mark Ford, Principal of the English College in Dubai, said the trend would assist students with homework and exam preparations - when used correctly. “It is important to note AI will never replace their role in learning,” said Ford. “It is just a new tool that enhances the learning experience.

“AI should only be used as a tool to be integrated into a well-designed curriculum that prioritises critical thinking, creativity, and ethics. It can be used to create interactive and engaging educational resources and games that help students learn in a fun and memorable way, providing personalised learning experiences that are tailored to each student’s needs.”

But concerns are there

The main cause of disquiet is that chatbots are not capable of making moral or ethical decisions and may provide responses that are harmful, inappropriate, or inaccurate. Therefore, it requires close monitoring to avoid any misuse, including plagiarism and cheating, said Ford.

Critical thinking

Validation of any work turned in using ChatGPT remains a live challenge. Alan Jacobson, Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Alteryx, said: “Humans need to check the integrity of what they see on the web. Beyond accuracy, ensuring the bot responds in ethical, empathic, and positive ways can also be challenging as these are more human traits.”

So far, training a bot to have these characteristics has proven challenging. From the financial sector to health care to publishing, a number of industries are vulnerable.

“People using the (ChatGPT) application would not only outsource the writing but also the thinking,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, the CEO of Coursera. “ChatGPT would not be able to create experiences for people. It would not be able to replicate services.”

Part of automation

In healthcare, providers may leverage ChatGPT for daily tasks and routine operations such as creating patient records or writing reports, although it comes with the risk of misuse. However, asking ChatGPT to write patient documents based on a prompt is incredibly risky since it is simply generating text based on probabilities and not based on the patient’s health at all, said David Hoelzer, a SANS Fellow, AI and ChatGPT expert.

Regarding the financial sector, ChatGPT has been utilised to develop a new generation of financial chatbots. “With simple and intuitive dialogue, these chatbots have been able to assist customers with making payments, checking their account balance, and managing and tracking their investments,” said Hoelzer.

In government

Commenting on the role generative AI would play in government, Marwan Al Ali, Director-General of the Department of Finance in Ajman said, “With its sophisticated and human-like conversational interface, ChatGPT has the potential to transform the way we interact with machines, impacting numerous industries and applications.”

The possibilities are indeed endless – but when done with enough checks and balances. As UAE’s schools are doing.

What exactly is ChatGPT?
Developed by OpenAI, a US-based AI research laboratory founded by Elon Musk and Sam Altman in 2015, ChatGPT is an AI chatbot. You can ask it questions, and in return, the chatbot provides users with a detailed, accurate (in most cases), and articulate responses across most domains of knowledge.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT has been ‘trained’ on vast troves data to generate composed text with accuracy and context.

It’s been only three months since Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer, AKA ChatGPT broke through to the mainstream and captured the world’s attention.