Search
Close this search box.

We are creating some awesome events for you. Kindly bear with us.

Adapting to the AI Revolution: Universities at the Crossroads

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

As Artificial Intelligence reshapes lives, universities face a pivotal question: will they lead the charge into this new era or be left behind? This critical issue was the focus of the eighth edition of the Temasek Foundation – NUS Programme for Leadership in University Management (PLUM), held at the National University of Singapore (NUS). For university leaders across Southeast Asia (SEA), it fosters ties, exchanges knowledge and advances ideas on university governance and management.

Image credits: National University of Singapore

Sixty university leaders from 21 ASEAN universities gathered to discuss AI’s role in teaching and learning, as well as the increasing focus on student well-being and holistic development beyond academia. NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye was optimistic that the programme would catalyse innovative initiatives among ASEAN universities.

Universities cannot afford to fear, ignore, or dismiss technological developments. The future is driven by technology, he said, while also cautioning against the potential misuse of AI and the pressures of work displacement it might bring.

The launch of Generative AI, such as ChatGPT, has revolutionised the education sector. Students use AI to complete assignments, and institutions in China are considering AI models to grade college entrance exams. Businesses are also exploring AI to boost productivity. These changes prompt universities to re-examine their relationship with students.

Contrary to sci-fi scenarios, AI will not lead to a robot apocalypse or instant job loss, but it will impact employment and employability, noted Professor Simon Chesterman, Vice Provost (Educational Innovation) and author of “Artifice: A Novel,” which explores AI’s implications on humanity.

He questioned whether students should be seen as customers or products and whether universities should focus on serving students or the economy. Given that education prepares individuals for employment, institutions need to consider how best to equip students for a rapidly changing world.

There was a consensus that educators must embrace AI and use it effectively. AI can enhance many areas, including administration, research, and teaching. Automating repetitive tasks frees up time for professors to focus on teaching, and AI can process large data sets for research.

However, AI is a double-edged sword and, if used irresponsibly, can cause harm instead of help. The ethical use of AI is crucial, as shown by examples like ChaosGPT, an AI programmed to destroy humanity, and researchers inadvertently including AI-written content in papers.

“AI will enable us to give more personalised feedback to our students, but we should leverage AI to offer better educational products, not offload responsibility onto it,” elaborated Prof. Chesterman.

Prof. Chesterman suggested that AI should be viewed like a calculator: in some circumstances, it cannot be used, while in others, it is essential. This is the approach that should be taken with AI. Rather than banning AI, universities need to educate students on its appropriate use.

“We will do our students a great disservice if we do not equip them with relevant skills for a highly data and technology-driven future,” remarked Prof. Tan.

As educators prepare students for an AI-driven world, they too need to upskill, often learning from their tech-savvy students. Combining the skills of the younger generation with educators’ experiences can foster a dynamic learning environment.

Despite the emphasis on technological advancements, leaders should not neglect the “softer” aspects of university life. Universities should be seen as more than just places where students earn degrees to get jobs. This is where they mature and build skills and character. The discussions at the programme highlighted the urgent need for universities to adapt and evolve in the age of AI, ensuring they remain at the forefront of innovation and education.

PARTNER

Qlik’s vision is a data-literate world, where everyone can use data and analytics to improve decision-making and solve their most challenging problems. A private company, Qlik offers real-time data integration and analytics solutions, powered by Qlik Cloud, to close the gaps between data, insights and action. By transforming data into Active Intelligence, businesses can drive better decisions, improve revenue and profitability, and optimize customer relationships. Qlik serves more than 38,000 active customers in over 100 countries.

PARTNER

As a Titanium Black Partner of Dell Technologies, CTC Global Singapore boasts unparalleled access to resources.

Established in 1972, we bring 52 years of experience to the table, solidifying our position as a leading IT solutions provider in Singapore. With over 300 qualified IT professionals, we are dedicated to delivering integrated solutions that empower your organization in key areas such as Automation & AI, Cyber Security, App Modernization & Data Analytics, Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure, Workplace Modernization and Professional Services.

Renowned for our consulting expertise and delivering expert IT solutions, CTC Global Singapore has become the preferred IT outsourcing partner for businesses across Singapore.

PARTNER

Planview has one mission: to build the future of connected work. Our solutions enable organizations to connect the business from ideas to impact, empowering companies to accelerate the achievement of what matters most. Planview’s full spectrum of Portfolio Management and Work Management solutions creates an organizational focus on the strategic outcomes that matter and empowers teams to deliver their best work, no matter how they work. The comprehensive Planview platform and enterprise success model enables customers to deliver innovative, competitive products, services, and customer experiences. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, with locations around the world, Planview has more than 1,300 employees supporting 4,500 customers and 2.6 million users worldwide. For more information, visit www.planview.com.

SUPPORTING ORGANISATION

SIRIM is a premier industrial research and technology organisation in Malaysia, wholly-owned by the Minister​ of Finance Incorporated. With over forty years of experience and expertise, SIRIM is mandated as the machinery for research and technology development, and the national champion of quality. SIRIM has always played a major role in the development of the country’s private sector. By tapping into our expertise and knowledge base, we focus on developing new technologies and improvements in the manufacturing, technology and services sectors. We nurture Small Medium Enterprises (SME) growth with solutions for technology penetration and upgrading, making it an ideal technology partner for SMEs.

PARTNER

HashiCorp provides infrastructure automation software for multi-cloud environments, enabling enterprises to unlock a common cloud operating model to provision, secure, connect, and run any application on any infrastructure. HashiCorp tools allow organizations to deliver applications faster by helping enterprises transition from manual processes and ITIL practices to self-service automation and DevOps practices. 

PARTNER

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud and AI, and business services provider. We help clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain the competitive edge in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government and corporate entities in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to affect their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and securely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in AI, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions and business services deliver open and flexible options to our clients. All of this is backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, responsibility, inclusivity and service.