Kenyan universities must embrace AI or perish in “self-denial”

Kenyan universities must embrace AI or perish in “self-denial”


By Dr. Joab Odhiambo

Last week, I had a webinar with some of my European, American, and Asian researcher friends, learning how to incorporate Artificial intelligence (AI) into academic research to ensure that its potential negative side effects are combated in good time for the safety of the learners and researchers.

So I asked myself, when will our Kenyan universities realize that AI is here to stay and start teaching students and researchers how to use it to enhance research output?

Kenyan academic and research institutions must learn to embrace this AI technology as a 4th industrial revolution or perish in “self-denial”.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is rapidly transforming how we live and work, so scientific research is no exception at Kenyan universities. By harnessing the power of AI, Ph.D. scholars and scientists can streamline their research processes, enhance data analysis, and accelerate discoveries that help us in evidence-based decision-making processes.

AI tools are being used to automate tasks, analyze data, and generate insights in ways that were not possible before during the research process. This is helping researchers to make faster progress, achieve breakthroughs, and improve the quality of their work during publications.

As a university don, this year, I have been learning ways of exploring several remarkable AI tools that have proven invaluable assets for academic researchers. Whether conducting experiments in the lab, writing scientific articles, publishing in journals, or working on your thesis or dissertation, AI tools can greatly enhance your efficiency and productivity.

Which AI tools can we use in our research for efficiency? Among these tools is Scite Assistant, a powerful research tool designed to aid researchers in locating, comprehending, and extracting critical information from scientific literature. This innovative tool automatically identifies key elements within papers, including research inquiries, methodologies, results, and conclusions. Furthermore, Scite Assistant assists researchers in pinpointing relevant papers, monitoring their progress, and fostering collaborative efforts.

Another invaluable AI resource in Kenyan academic institutions is Consensus, an AI-driven search engine tailored to assist researchers in the quest for pertinent research papers.

Utilizing machine learning techniques, Consensus goes beyond traditional keyword-based searches, enabling the identification of research papers closely aligned with specific research inquiries. Furthermore, Consensus supplies concise summaries of each paper, streamlining the process of assessing their relevance.

Elicit, another AI marvel, is an indispensable research assistant for Kenyan students and research scholars. Elicit empowers researchers to brainstorm, conduct in-depth research, and craft well-structured arguments. This versatile tool can generate innovative ideas, uncover pertinent information, and assist in developing academic presentations and posters.

Many Kenyan researchers can also benefit from ChatGPT. It is an AI-driven chatbot capable of generating text and language translation and answering inquiries. ChatGPT is invaluable for sourcing information, obtaining research project feedback, and fostering peer collaboration, especially when writing grants.

ChatPDF can offer essential support to Kenyan researchers by simplifying the comprehension of PDF files. It efficiently extracts text from PDF documents, facilitates language translation, and responds to questions regarding document content. ChatPDF can significantly enhance research efficiency and accuracy, thus enabling researchers to enhance their research and the accuracy of the findings.

Research Rabbit is another AI solution that can aid Kenyan researchers in managing their scholarly endeavors. This tool can streamline tracking citations, generate bibliographies, and produce summaries of research papers. As a result, researchers can maintain organization and optimize their time effectively.

Lastly, Kenyan academicians can use SciSpace (or, a cutting-edge AI-powered platform designed to simplify the publication process. SciSpace offers a comprehensive solution encompassing manuscript submission, peer review, and publication. By reducing the time required for publication, SciSpace empowers Kenyan researchers to accelerate their research dissemination and impact.

While AI tools collectively can enrich and advance research activities within Kenyan universities by fostering a more efficient and productive academic environment, users must be taught how to differentiate the truth since using them can distinguish the facts, especially from well-established academic theories. Research academic policies must be streamlined to accommodate this new technology. 

Writer is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Umeå University and Lecturer at Meru University of Science and Technology (MUST).

X: @Dr_Jodhiambo


AI Artificial Intelligence ChatGPT Kenyan universities ChatPDF SciSpace

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