Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) has 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 the AI Armchair series, the conversation named, How AI Gives You Superpowers, treated students to an interactive storytelling demonstration on Jais, the Arabic large language model (LLM) launched in August 2023 by G42’s Inception, US-based Cerebras Systems and MBZUAI. At a survey conducted at the event, 77 per cent of participating students, aged between 12 and 15 years-old said that they believe their generation will require AI skills to secure employment after completing their education.

Sultan Al Hajji, Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations at Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, 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 youth 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."

At the event, Hao Li, Associate Professor of Computer Vision at Mohamed bin Zayed University and Director of MBZUAI’s Metaverse Centre, shared a brief history of AI, its growth through automation and autonomy, and how this technology is benefiting both consumers and industries. Professor Li demonstrated ways in which AI is making people’s lives better by automating tasks and freeing up human ingenuity for more complex and creative endeavours. Professor 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.

Also at the event, 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. The Creative Technologist gave a live demonstration using a green screen to highlight how artists have always used emerging technologies to create compelling human experiences before continuing to explain how AI will help people achieve their goals by delivering a personalised 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 per cent 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 PhD 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.