First AI faculty opens in Malaysia, focus on human values

UTM campus in Kuala Lumpur

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) has achieved a major milestone in the first quarter of 2024 with the establishment of the country’s first Faculty of Artificial Intelligence (FAI). The pioneering initiative recognises the growing importance of AI across various industries, and emphasis not only on the technical aspects of AI but also focuses on integrating human values such as fairness and transparency into AI technology, aiming to produce ethical graduates who can responsibly develop and use this powerful tool. The FAI, which received an initial allocation of RM20 million, has appointed AI futurist Zack Kass as an Adjunct Professor to leverage his expertise in developing a curriculum that emphasises human values.

Profesor Datuk Ir Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail, Vice-Chancellor of UTM, emphasised the importance of ethical considerations in AI during the launching of the faculty in Kuala Lumpur earlier last month. “Ethical values are very important in the use of technology because without ethics, it will cause problems for the country,” Ir. Dr. Ismail said at a press conference. “We will apply these values through courses on responsible AI development and by fostering ethical practices throughout the student experience.”

In line with the FAI’s mission, UTM has been entrusted with leading the Malaysia Artificial Intelligence Consortium, a research program that combines public universities with key technology industries in Malaysia. This consortium, with UTM at the helm, will foster collaboration between universities with complementary strengths.

For example, Universiti Sains Malaysia’s expertise in healthcare could be invaluable for developing AI applications in the medical field. Through this collaborative effort, the consortium aims to drive innovation in various sectors, including health. This initiative will not only produce graduates well-versed in AI but also generate impactful research that benefits society and the Malaysian economy.

Malaysia’s health sector will benefit significantly from these efforts to advance AI, especially in the health sector. While still early in its development, the market for AI applications in health in Malaysia is expected to experience significant growth, reaching an estimated value of $0.22 billion by 2030 at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 45.42%.

A key driver is AI-powered diagnostics, where algorithms analyse medical images to assist doctors in faster and more accurate diagnoses. Early disease detection, particularly for conditions like diabetes and cancer, is another promising area. The Malaysian government plays a proactive role by allocating research funds and fostering collaboration between public and private sectors.

However, challenges remain. Data privacy and security are paramount as AI in healthcare deals with sensitive patient information. Additionally, establishing clear regulations is crucial to ensure ethical and responsible implementation of AI in this field. Overall, Malaysia’s health AI sector holds immense potential for the future, but navigating data privacy concerns and establishing robust regulatory frameworks will be essential for its success.

Dr. Kavintheran Thambiratnam avatar

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *