Artificial Intelligence at the Heart of UA’s Scientific Discourse | Antonine University

  • Artificial Intelligence at the Heart of UA’s Scientific Discourse

    01 March 2024

    The Faculty of Information and Communication (FIC) at Antonine University (UA), under the esteemed patronage of the Minister of Information, H.E. Mr. Ziad Makary, organized a scientific day dedicated to reflection and intellectual exchange. Titled “Communication, Education, and Ethics Through the Prism of Artificial Intelligence,” this event brought together eminent figures from the fields of communication and education in both Lebanon and France.

    Dr. Dalal Moukarzel, Dean of the FIC, set the tone with her opening remarks, emphasizing the pivotal role of education in effective communication. She called for pedagogical approaches adapted to the era of artificial intelligence (AI) and questioned the educational system’s ability to adjust to the rapid changes induced by AI. Dr. Moukarzel highlighted the importance of developing personal skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, empathy, and resilience.

    Subsequently, Fr. Michel Saghbiny, UA’s Rector, underscored the interconnection between education and communication. His speech laid the foundation for a profound reflection on the ethical and social challenges posed by AI, delving into its impact on education and training while pointing out the ethical stakes associated with this technology. Fr. Saghbiny stressed that true progress lies in the well-being of humanity and that the use of AI must be approached discerningly to serve humanity’s greater good.

    Mr. Makary, on his part, contributed by raising key questions about the potential dehumanization of media culture, highlighting the implications of AI on the media sector.

    The guest of honor, Ms. Amelia Lakrafi, Member of the French National Assembly and cybersecurity specialist, shared her insights on current AI developments, adding an international dimension to the discussion and opening the door to new collaborative projects with Lebanon.

    The first session, moderated by magistrate Michel Moawad, provided an overview of the organization of electronic media in Lebanon and the imperative need for the adoption of laws that meet the current requirements of the media landscape, presented by Mr. Ghassan Mokheiber, former Member of the Lebanese Parliament. Dr. Rony Darazi, Vice Rector for Cooperation and Internationalization (VRCI) at UA, then explored AI ecosystems and their socio-economic impact.

    The following sessions addressed various topics, ranging from digital acculturation in schools in the era of generative AI, presented by Prof. Michel Durampart from the University of Toulon, to the pragmatic treatment of AI uses in the field of knowledge and understanding, presented by Dr. Marie-Noelle El Khoury from the Lebanese University (LU).

    Regarding the ethical considerations surrounding AI in medicine, the topics was tackled by Prof. Sami Richa from Hotel-Dieu de France/Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ), followed by Dr. Lina Hawat, an instructor at UA and USJ, who questioned whether AI is a new form of alienation and human disempowerment.

    The day also provided a platform for reflection on the challenges of generative AI in education, with the intervention of Dr. Sami Ben Amor from the University of Toulon, as well as the impact of AI on communication through a presentation titled “The Intelligent Avatar, a Meaningful Communicative Tool,” delivered by Dr. Joe Moukarzel, Master’s Program Coordinator at UA’s FIC and master of the ceremony.

    Diverse topics were also explored, examining the effective engagement of UA students in becoming “citizen-entrepreneurs in a pluralistic Lebanon,” a core theme presented by Dr. Dalal Moukarzel, who then gave the floor to one of her students, Hassan Rahhal.

    Challenges related to digital citizens, between e-inclusion policies and the power to act in establishing global awareness, were addressed by Dr. Edmond Bou Dagher from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK).

    The final contribution was given by Dr. Naji Kozaily from UA, who suggested initiating debates for a citizen convention in Lebanon with the goal of achieving an international treaty on generative AI.

    In conclusion, this day marked a key moment in UA’s scientific discourse, uniting renowned experts and providing a platform for profound discussions on the multiple facets of AI. The debates underscored the significance of ethics, education, and communication in a constantly evolving world shaped by rapid technological advancements. This event facilitated a critical examination of AI and its impact on our society while highlighting the opportunities and challenges it presents.