Making artificial intelligence (AI) more accessible to the next generation of young people – Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) – recently hosted an immersive experience, transporting more than 300 students from UAE schools and MBZUAI into the metaverse to explain generative technology and demonstrate its potential for creativity.
Officially launching its AI Armchair series, the conversation titled ‘How AI Gives You Superpowers’, treated students to an interactive storytelling demonstration on Jais – the Arabic large language model (LLM) – launched last month by G42’s Inception, US-based Cerebras Systems, and MBZUAI. At a survey conducted at the event, the majority (77 percent) of participating students, aged 12 to 15 years, said that they believe their generation will require AI skills to secure employment after completing their education.
MBZUAI Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations, Sultan Al Hajji, who opened the event, said: “We hope the bright young people we met will be among the future students of MBZUAI. As one of the only countries in the world with an AI strategy at the heart of its national vision, increasing AI aptitude and literacy among its young people is a vital aspect of achieving the Emirates’ long-term economic and social goals. Through events such as the AI Armchair, we are elevating the discussion around AI’s benefits with the public, one conversation at a time.”
Associate Professor of Computer Vision and Director of the MBZUAI Metaverse Center at MBZUAI, Hao Li, shared a brief history of AI, its growth through automation and autonomy, and how this technology is benefiting both consumers and industries. He demonstrated ways in which AI is making people’s lives better by automating tasks and freeing up human ingenuity for more complex and creative endeavors. Li demonstrated cutting edge AI-powered software that can help to produce immersive 3D images and avatars for learning opportunities, giving insight into research being done today at MBZUAI to create future AI-based applications around telepresence and language adoption that will benefit the education sector.
Marco Tempest, a creative technologist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a director’s fellow alumni of the MIT MediaLab, discussed some of his work with transformative technologies, including metaverse, robotics, and AI, to create unique experiences. He wowed the audience with a live demonstration using a green screen to highlight how artists have always used emerging technologies to create compelling human experiences. Tempest explained how AI will help people achieve their goals by delivering a personalized level of assistance to individuals of all ages and occupations, from students to engineers and artists, by acting as an enabler of creativity.
In line with MBZUAI’s mission to create a talent pipeline and AI knowledge-based economy within the UAE, 68 percent of the attending students indicated that the session inspired them to consider a career in AI. Education is a key research pillar for the university, with its master’s and Ph.D. students, alongside faculty and researchers, developing AI-based tools that will enhance critical thinking in the education sector, as well as projects that make advanced learning opportunities more accessible to students globally through technology.