By Farozan Warsi
I was attempting to figure out how to switch on the lights and lower the blinds in my daughter’s Smart home. I squinted at the panel of switches on the wall, wondering which one would do the job. Then, the decision was taken off my hands. Suddenly the lights activated on their own. The blinds began to roll down. I was completely psyched. Spooked. I later found out that the blinds and lights were programmed to do so at sundown. This is just a little taste of how AI has begun to work now.
As generations advance, so does industrialization. Our lives for the past many years have been infused with technology. The dizzying speed with which artificial intelligence is being engaged in work life cannot be ignored. Could we imagine communicating with a Bot while shopping online a few years ago? However, the transformative impact of technology has not been feared as acutely as it is today. The looming dangers of generative AI and the likelihood of it taking over future jobs is an exhaustive topic. These are topics that provoke awe and apprehension. Although, optimism dictates that this might not assume the trajectory that we suspect it will. In my perspective, even if it does, human beings created it; they should be the ones to control it. After all, algorithms are a creation of the human brain.
Interestingly in Surah Jathiya, Verse 13 Allah SWT states: He has subjected all that is in the Heavens and the earth for your benefit, as a gift from Him. There truly are signs for those who reflect. (Translation: M.A.S Abdel Haleem). This verse emphasizes that “In their subjection and in making them beneficial for man, there are many signs for those who think and reflect.” It highlights that the Creator and Administrator of everything has subjected all things to a divine law. “And that God alone is Lord of man, Who has made has made all these things and powers favourable and helpful for man’s sustenance, his convenience, his development and his civilization and social life by His power and wisdom and mercy.” (Tafseer: Syed Abul A’la Maududi) With this understanding, we can appreciate that AI, like other developments has the potential to serve humanity in numerous areas.
So, all development occurs by the permission of Allah and all development has been subjected to a law. AI will prove beneficial to humankind in a wide, wide area of work. Allah has also bestowed us with an intellect that can separate the useful from the harmful. Automation can undoubtedly improve lives as we can already see it. However, it is crucial to remain vigilant about the evil designs of the evil-minded. Shaitan is stealthy, sinister and sneaky.
Role of AI in Education:
Recognizing the significance of AI shaping the future, schools, colleges and universities consider this area of technological advancement as being an essential component in student learning. Students will have to be AI savvy for the future; there is no question about that. Curricula, lesson planning, student performance data collection, and professional development for teachers ask for a revolutionary shift if we are to prepare students for the future classroom. Adaptive learning/teaching can cater to the unique needs of individual students fostering greater connection and meeting their demands.
Challenges and Anticipated Fears:
While embracing AI, we must also anticipate and address potential challenges:
Plagiarism: As students begin falling back on content using ChatGPT, plagiarism will become rampant.
Accessibility: Future ChatGPT options have a paid version. How many students might have access to these versions?
Ethics: The content could be selected from various sources. No one will be able to claim any authorship.
Dependence: Students may not worry about putting content together. As a result, human creativity will rarely be tapped. There will be little originality. Students could compile content that might reflect the views of different writers, some balanced and others biased.
Misinformation: the proliferation of fake news poses a persistent challenge requiring greater effort to discern truth from falsehood.
Embracing Hope and Strategies:
Discussions on the negative effects of AI dominating job prospects raise concerns. However, the intellectual capabilities bestowed upon human beings should enable us to navigate through potential challenges. It is possible that new job opportunities may emerge alongside these advancements. As we hurtle down a fast-flowing stream there are two possibilities- to stay afloat or sink. To stay afloat, we will have to strategize and utilize opportunities to our benefit. Islam instills hope and positivity, assuring us that sustenance (Rizq) is provided by Allah for every living being. Need we be anxious?
It’s a brave new world our children are venturing into. It is our responsibility to stay a few steps ahead to address their needs effectively. As we expand our knowledge and understanding of the possibilities AI presents, we can guide our children on the right path. While challenges exist, embracing a positive outlook, utilizing strategies, and relying on our intellect can help us harness the potential of AI while safeguarding against its negative implications.
About the Author
Farozan Warsi is an Educator and Author who has an interest in child psychology and theology. She draws her inspiration from the hundreds of children she has taught and guided – specifically her three grandchildren. Her writing is an homage to them. Through her writing at Farozans Book Shelf she hopes to ignite a curiosity about Islam amongst this most thoughtful generation. With this specific work, she aims to exemplify the mysteries of Islam through a fun-filled genre. She comes from generations of writers and educators. She lives in Canada with her spouse where she paints pictures with her words.