The United Arab Emirates University has established five core laboratories to support interdisciplinary research combining physical, biological, social, and digital sciences. This blurring of scientific boundaries is a phenomenon known as the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ because its outcomes are an explosion of new possibilities across many fields of human endeavour and the creation of innovative technologies and practices. The UAE’s strategic vision for the next fifty years incorporates the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a system of innovation to help achieve sustainability in economic, social, and environmental progress.
The UAEU’s Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Laboratory (AIRL) aligns its work to the UAE’s strategic vision. Its initial focus is on education and health technologies.
Dr Fady Al-Najjar, Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, and Director of the AIRL described the ways in which artificial intelligence research has been applied to psychological health. He said that the laboratory has developed a monitoring system for senior citizens that is able to predict the future progression of their psychological health. The system uses a robot, called ‘AbuSif’ that was developed with technical support from Microsoft Middle East and Africa and uses algorithms powered by Azure Cognitive Services. AbuSif interacts with patients and notices changes in their facial expressions, the quality of their speech, and the speed of their responses to various stimuli. It generates clinical reports about potential risk of cognitive impairment and is useful in early diagnosis of conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
Researchers in the AIRL expect that Artificial Intelligence and Deep Machine Learning will play an important role in diagnosing diseases with speed and accuracy, because of the potential to exceed human capabilities. Robots such as AbuSif can be used with the elderly and others who need assistance with daily activities. They can be used to monitor and prompt actions such as taking medicine, preparing food, and doing physical exercise. They will be able to provide feedback and reports for use by medical professionals when deciding if intervention might be needed.
Dr Fady also explained how Artificial Intelligence and Deep Machine Learning can be used to assist teachers monitor student learning, both in physical classroom settings and when students are studying at a distance using virtual technology. He said that it is possible to monitor whether students are paying attention or are busy on-task, and to assess for a student’s personal interests and cognitive abilities. The monitoring systems produce detailed reports to inform the teacher and assist with curriculum design.
Dr Fady underlined the significance of the work of the AIRL. “The technologies that we produce help teachers to personalise curricula for individual students and to use teaching methodologies that are effective for learning. They will drive innovation in teaching and curriculum design to address educational problems and benefit both teachers and students. Artificial Intelligence will enable curricula to become dynamic in their design, adapting to meet the educational needs of each student. Educational advance is key to social and economic development in the UAE. At UAEU we strive to provide such service and value to the nation”.
Source: Iris Media