Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 15th September 2020: The UAE’s use of Artificial Intelligence has accelerated in the healthcare and education sectors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Europe’s leading international news channel, Euronews, spoke to leaders in healthcare and education to discover the positives and negatives that AI use has had within these sectors, and what this means for the future in AI tech in the Middle East.
Speaking to Euronews at one of the largest dedicated AI events in the world, AI Everything, Omar Bin Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, United Arab Emirates said: “The issue with the pandemic, is that it's a moving target - it spreads very fast. There's a lot of touch points so you can't really, have people go and sift through all of the data to understand how things are changing across the ground. So there is a lot of work done using AI for simulation purposes; understanding as well, the spread using AI, and creating strategies to contain the spread of the virus.”
Also at the event, American Hospital Dubai CEO Sherif Beshara told Euronews how surprised he was at how much AI had helped predict medical demand during the pandemic. He said: “I remember the first meeting that we attended at the disaster and crisis committee and how all the private sectors really got surprised by the government that they were utilising AI. They gave us their predictions and very clear on how many cases will come to Dubai and the UAE alone. It also helped us work out the consumables and equipment that we would need and how many ICU and critical beds that we require.”
He also spoke about the use of AI-powered robotic surgeons which American Hospital Dubai has been using throughout the pandemic to reduce complications and eliminate infections in surgery. He told Euronews: “Our robotic surgery operated on 105 cases during the pandemic on patients who were extremely high risk, with zero infections and zero complications.”
With distance learning and homeschooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic changing the future of education and being driven by AI, many experts believe that the human touch is irreplaceable within education, and that technology can only enhance and not replace classroom teaching.
Commenting on the change to e-learning due to the pandemic, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, Dubai said: “I think it really re-established teaching as a profession and what is it supposed to be all about. What technology has done, it has amplified our connectivity and therefore our humanity. And I think because of the pandemic, it showed us, how important is our humanity.”
Euronews also spoke to the Dubai Future Foundation about its use and the governance of AI in pedagogy. Project Manager at Dubai Future Foundation, Mariam Obaid Al Muhairi said about the latest projects that the Future Foundation is working on: “So how do we ensure that the AI that's used in education and actually in toys is ethical and responsible and actually protects children's privacy? We've seen the use of AI actually supporting children with autism learn emotions. And that's done through AI, what we call smart toys. But what we're very interested in looking at is also how AI can help teachers to teach better. So that's things like understanding how a student learns and looking at kind of the pattern recognition and then being able to adapt to that. These are tools that will support, but these are not tools that will replace.”