Empowering non-native English-speaking academics through AI

Empowering non-native English-speaking academics through AI

Empowering non-native English-speaking academics through AI
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In the landscape of contemporary academic research, artificial intelligence tools, such as ChatGPT and Gemini, often face opposition concerning accuracy and the potential for overreliance. Nevertheless, the positive implications of AI, particularly in promoting justice for non-native English-speaking researchers, are substantial, yet frequently overlooked. 

This article advocates for the equitable opportunities that AI tools can provide to non-native English-speaking scholars, thereby facilitating a more inclusive academic environment. By examining AI’s capacity to level the linguistic playing field, it is possible to highlight how these tools can serve as a cornerstone for academic equity.

Amid the evolving terrain of academic research, AI applications have been met with a mixed reception. Skeptics raise concerns about the veracity of information, possible data misinterpretation, and an overarching reliance on technology that, they fear, might overshadow human intellectual efforts. Despite these criticisms, AI tools harbor an unsung potential to bridge the linguistic gap for non-native English-speaking researchers. This article explores the transformative role AI tools can play in rendering linguistic justice, enabling equitable participation in the global academic dialogue.

The preeminence of English in scientific communication has historically marginalized non-native English-speaking researchers, whose linguistic challenges often preclude their full engagement in the scholarly community. AI applications, such as ChatGPT and Gemini, however, emerge as academic levelers, offering language processing capabilities that equalize access to publishing opportunities. These AI tools aid in editing and refining scholarly writing, allowing research quality, rather than language proficiency, to become the focal point of academic evaluation.

Resistance to technological advancements in education is not a novel phenomenon. The controversy surrounding the introduction of calculators into the classroom mirrors today’s debates on AI. Critics once argued that reliance on calculators would atrophy students’ computational skills. Similarly, the advent of statistical software, such as SPSS, was initially met with skepticism; detractors insisted that computations should be manually performed to credit the researcher’s own analytical prowess. Yet, these tools have become indispensable in academic research, suggesting a pattern where initial resistance gives way to eventual incorporation into standard practice.

The journey of email’s acceptance in academic circles also serves as a testament to the shift from skepticism to trust. There was a time when scholarly journals insisted on receiving manuscripts via postal mail, due to doubts about email’s reliability. Likewise, early digital survey tools, such as Google Forms and SurveyMonkey, were distrusted in favor of manual data collection. These instances of technological mistrust have gradually faded, which is indicative of a broader trend where new tools, despite initially being met with caution, become woven into the fabric of academic methodology.

AI tools allow research quality rather than language proficiency to become the focal point of academic evaluation

Dr. Munassir Alhamami

The utility of AI extends to the optimization of research efficiency. By automating routine tasks, AI tools allow researchers to reallocate their efforts toward more complex aspects of their work. For instance, a researcher could utilize AI to perform initial data analysis, allowing more of their time to be devoted to interpreting results and developing novel hypotheses.

In publishing, non-native English-speaking researchers frequently encounter bias, with manuscripts being unduly rejected due to language deficiencies rather than scientific inadequacy. AI tools promise a paradigm shift, providing such scholars with editing capabilities previously reserved for those with access to native-level linguistic resources. By leveling the linguistic playing field, AI can significantly enhance the acceptance rate of research papers authored by non-native English-speaking scholars.

Disseminating research findings is another domain where AI can play a pivotal role. By assisting in the translation of research into multiple languages, AI tools not only amplify the reach of scholarly work but also encourage a diverse and multilingual academic discourse.

As the adoption of AI tools becomes more widespread, the potential for a more diverse and equitable academic community grows. The proliferation of AI in research practices does not signify a replacement of human intellect but rather an enhancement of human capability. AI is not a panacea but a valuable ally in the pursuit of knowledge.

In summary, the inclusion of AI tools in academic research practices heralds a new era of equity and inclusivity for non-native English-speaking researchers. By mitigating linguistic barriers, AI empowers all scholars to contribute meaningfully to the collective intellectual enterprise. The evolution from skepticism to acceptance of technological aids in academia is a pattern we are poised to see recur with AI. As we embrace these tools, we edge closer to a scholarly community that values knowledge and insight over language proficiency and, in doing so, we enrich the tapestry of global research.

Dr. Munassir Alhamami is a professor at the Faculty of Languages and Translation at King Khalid University in Abha, Saudi Arabia.
 

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News' point of view

How Pakistan’s new cricket coaches can approach tough tasks ahead

How Pakistan’s new cricket coaches can approach tough tasks ahead
Updated 9 min ago
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How Pakistan’s new cricket coaches can approach tough tasks ahead

How Pakistan’s new cricket coaches can approach tough tasks ahead
  • Despite the team’s failure to progress to the Super 8s of the 2024 T20 World Cup, there could be reasons to be optimistic

NEW YORK: How many times have we heard the words inconsistent, unpredictable and chaotic used to describe the Pakistan men’s cricket team’s performances over the years?

The answer is numerous, although usually the description is followed by the qualification that the team are at their most dangerous when in that state.

In the wake of the team’s failure to progress to the Super 8s stage of the 2024 T20 World Cup, the mood is different and much darker.

Inconsistency, unpredictability and chaos did not translate into becoming a dangerous opponent. Nor should it, because it is much more likely that a team characterized as consistent, hardworking and united will perform best.

In my view, it is time for those involved in Pakistan’s cricket world to step away from the myth surrounding what it takes to galvanize the team. In its place ought to be a realization that the raw talent that once helped them produce magical moments is not being harnessed properly and that teams in other countries have adopted a more adventurous style of playing cricket.

The big question is how can Pakistan achieve such a transformation? There is nothing new about the current environment. Issues with chairmen and selection have abounded over the years, leading to accusations of nepotism and favoritism. However, I believe that there is reason to be hopeful.

The two new coaches, Gary Kirsten for white ball cricket and Jason Gillespie for red ball, are in positions which allow them to make decisions which are likely to be backed unconditionally by the hierarchy, even if it is just to save face for themselves.

Hopefully, the coaches will take full advantage of this opportunity to set their paths immediately. It is not an understatement to suggest that they are set for the hardest task of their careers. I was coached by Gillespie at Yorkshire and know his style is to be calm, which will be of help in this task. He prefers to let players lead while occupying a supporting act. From a distance, Kirsten seems to have a similar style, evidenced by his time with India in winning the 2011 World Cup under MS Dhoni’s captaincy.

Anyone who has followed the men in green will be very aware of all the issues with the team environment, so those must be addressed first. It is a very insecure one with a lot of noise.

Personally, I would not have chosen the two-coach policy. These players need simple and consistent messaging to be able to go out and express themselves. However, given that two coaches are in place, it will be especially important for them to work together and build a trusted backroom staff body which is the same across the formats. Time is of the essence to put this in place as pressure to improve both team and individual performances will build quickly. In my view, the environment needs freshening and unnecessary baggage which has built up over the last couple of years needs removing.

One of the most difficult and contentious issues is that of the captaincy. In the current situation, I would play down the power and importance of the captain. This goes against my natural grain but, for the immediate future, the coach needs to be the figurehead and lead. Obviously, there still needs to be a captain, ideally across formats, so as to reduce noise and deliver one simple message. Pakistan’s next white ball match is not until early November in Australia, so there is no need for immediate action. However, there are two Tests with Bangladesh to be hosted in August. Shan Masood is the current captain.

Another contentious issue is the selection process and, within it, the role of Wahab Riaz. It was only on Mar. 24 that the current seven-member selection committee was established. This included Riaz, who had previously acted as chair, but that title was removed, Riaz remaining as a committee member. Somewhat impracticably, each member carried an equal vote from which a majority decision would be formed. How this works in practice is unclear.

In my view, the experiment should be ditched, with the coaches having the final say in a reduced committee. Riaz, who is believed to be close to the PCB (Pakistan Cricket Board) chair, was senior team manager during the World Cup, despite there being a team manager and a coach! There is a public perception that Riaz appears to wield too much influence. It remains to be seen if the review of Pakistan’s World Cup performance will recommend that it is reduced. The results are expected shortly.

The first requirement for team selection will come with the Bangladesh Tests. Gillespie will oversee a training camp ahead of these matches to prepare both the national and A teams. He has already said that “we can’t rely on the same 11 players to play day in and day out. We need to make sure that we’ve got a squad mentality.”

Surprisingly, the talent pool appears to be small with a lack of ready-made replacements in some positions, so there is a need to identify and back those with the necessary character and skill. One of the options is Mohammad Haris. He has the modern-day approach which surely needs to be injected into the team’s approach and pursued all the way to the next T20 World Cup. Irfan Khan Niazi is another young dynamo who could grow into a good finisher, whilst investment in batter Omair Yousuf could prove beneficial.

In the fast-bowling department, Shaheen Shah Afridi needs the necessary support to return to basics and improve his performance. In my view, he would be advised to forget about the captaincy to concentrate on taking wickets and being a match winner. Naseem Shah needs protection and support as he appears to be on the right path to being world class. I expect Gillespie to provide those levels of support for both players.

Leg-spinner Usama Mir would have been in my World Cup squad, whilst Mehran Mumtaz has the ability to be the all-format No. 1 spinner. Shadab Khan needs time to rediscover his bowling skills. He has been brilliant as a batter for Islamabad but that seems to have skewed his thought processes in international cricket. He has succeeded before and I have no doubt he will again, but he is another who needs to go back to basics.

My suggested change in approach for both coaches may not be very natural for either man. Both prefer to have a strong captain who takes the lead while they create an environment which encourages the players to make their own decisions.

In the short term, my view is that the coaches need to lead from the front, dealing with the noise and protecting their players from the inevitable attacks by ex-players, pundits and fans. Internally, they are advised to set out clear expectations. The team must become the priority in what is an insecure culture which makes the players think more about personal performances.

The two men need to settle the players in their minds through a combination of hand holding and tough love. Hopefully, a period of calm and support will create a better environment for success.


Saudi Arabia’s FDI soars to $65bn post-pandemic, among top in West Asia: report

Saudi Arabia’s FDI soars to $65bn post-pandemic, among top in West Asia: report
Updated 19 min 10 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s FDI soars to $65bn post-pandemic, among top in West Asia: report

Saudi Arabia’s FDI soars to $65bn post-pandemic, among top in West Asia: report

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia attracted $65.1 billion in foreign direct investment in the three years post-pandemic until 2023, placing it among West Asia’s top recipients, according to new data.  

According to the latest World Investment Report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the Kingdom's FDI outflows totaled $73.1 billion over the same period, with $16 billion recorded last year alone. This places Saudi Arabia among the top 20 economies globally for FDI outflows, ranking 16th. 

In accordance with the goals set out in the National Investment Strategy and Vision 2030 targets, Saudi Arabia has enacted substantial legal, economic, and social reforms aimed at stimulating inflows of foreign direct investment.

Launched in 2021, NIS looks to develop comprehensive investment plans across various sectors such as manufacturing, renewable energy, transport and logistics, tourism, digital infrastructure, and healthcare.

Furthermore, it aims to increase annual FDI flows to over $103 billion and boost annual domestic investment to more than $453 billion by 2030.

The UN report also noted a 55 percent annual increase in the value of international project finance deals in Saudi Arabia in 2023, reaching $22 billion. 

Last year, the nation witnessed 19 deals, marking a 90 percent growth compared to the previous year. 

Additionally, Saudi Arabia saw 389 announced greenfield projects in 2023, totaling $29 billion, reflecting a 108 percent annual increase in value. 

On a global level, FDI experienced a marginal yearly decline of 2 percent in 2023, dropping to $1.3 trillion.  

The analysis highlighted that the overall figure was significantly influenced by substantial financial flows through a few European conduit economies. 

Excluding the impact of these conduits, global FDI flows were more than 10 percent lower than in 2022. 

Conduit economies refer to countries that act as intermediaries for financial flows, especially foreign direct investment. 

These economies attract multinational corporations with favorable tax laws and regulatory environments, allowing funds to pass through on their way to final investment destinations, often for tax optimization and regulatory benefits. Examples include the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Switzerland, as well as Cyprus and Ireland.  

The challenges  

UNCTAD stated that the global landscape for international investment remains challenging in 2024. Factors such as declining growth prospects, economic fragmentation, and trade and geopolitical tensions are influencing FDI patterns. Industrial policies and the diversification of supply chains also present limitations.  

These factors have prompted many multinational enterprises to adopt a cautious approach to overseas expansion.  

“However, MNE profit levels remain high, financing conditions are easing and increased greenfield project announcements in 2023 will positively affect FDI. Modest growth for the full year appears possible,” the report stated.  

International project finance and cross-border mergers and acquisitions were particularly weak in 2023.  

M&As, which predominantly impact FDI in developed countries, fell in value by 46 percent, while project finance, a crucial factor for infrastructure investment, was down 26 percent.  

According to the report, the principal causes of this decline included tighter financing conditions, investor uncertainty, volatility in financial markets, and increased regulatory scrutiny for M&As.  

In developed countries, the 2023 trend was significantly influenced by MNE financial transactions, partly driven by efforts to implement a minimum tax on the largest MNEs.  

Regional deep dive  

Due to volatility in conduit economies, FDI flows in Europe shifted dramatically from negative $106 billion in 2022 to positive $16 billion in 2023.  

Inflows to the rest of Europe declined by 14 percent, while inflows in other developed countries stagnated, with a 5 percent decline in North America and significant decreases elsewhere.  

FDI flows to developing countries fell by 7 percent to $867 billion, primarily due to an 8 percent decrease in developing Asia.  

Flows fell by 3 percent in Africa and 1 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean. The number of international project finance deals dropped by a quarter.  

Although greenfield project announcements in developing countries increased by over 1,000, these initiatives were highly concentrated in specific regions.  

Greenfield project announcements refer to the initiation of new investment undertakings where companies build operations from scratch on undeveloped land, leading to the construction of new facilities and infrastructure.  

South-East Asia accounted for almost half of these projects, West Asia for a quarter, while Africa saw a small increase, and Latin America and the Caribbean attracted fewer initiatives.  

FDI inflows to Africa declined by 3 percent in 2023 to $53 billion. Despite several megaproject announcements, including Mauritania’s largest worldwide green hydrogen project, international project finance in Africa fell by a quarter in the number of deals and half in value, negatively affecting infrastructure investment prospects.  

In developing Asia, FDI fell by 8 percent to $621 billion. China, the world’s second-largest FDI recipient, experienced a rare decline in inflows, with significant decreases recorded in India and West and Central Asia.  

The report stated that only South-East Asia held steady, with industrial investment remaining buoyant despite the global downturn in project finance.  

FDI flows to Latin America and the Caribbean were down 1 percent to $193 billion.  

The number of international project finance and greenfield investment announcements fell, but the value of greenfield projects increased due to large investments in commodity sectors, critical minerals and renewable energy as well as green hydrogen, and green ammonia.  

Conversely, FDI flows to structurally weak and vulnerable economies increased. FDI inflows to least developed countries rose to $31 billion, accounting for 2.4 percent of global FDI flows, the report stated.  

“Landlocked developing countries and small island developing states also saw increased FDI. In all three groups, FDI remains concentrated among a few countries,” the report added.  

The global downturn in international project finance disproportionately affected the poorest countries, where such finance is relatively more important.  

Industry trends showed lower investment in infrastructure and the digital economy but strong growth in global value chain-intensive sectors such as manufacturing and critical minerals.  

Weak project finance markets negatively impacted infrastructure investment, and digital economy sectors continued to slow down after the boom ended in 2022.  

The report further stated that global value chain-intensive sectors, including automotive, electronics, and machinery industries, grew strongly, driven by supply chain restructuring pressures. Investment in critical minerals extraction and processing nearly doubled in project numbers and values. 


Arab League welcomes Armenia’s recognition of Palestinian state

A youth carries water in Khan Yunis on the southern Gaza Strip on June 23, 2024. (AFP)
A youth carries water in Khan Yunis on the southern Gaza Strip on June 23, 2024. (AFP)
Updated 43 min 16 sec ago
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Arab League welcomes Armenia’s recognition of Palestinian state

A youth carries water in Khan Yunis on the southern Gaza Strip on June 23, 2024. (AFP)
  • ‘Influential international parties’ urged to meet their moral and historical responsibilities to the Palestinian people

CAIRO: The Arab League has welcomed Armenia’s recognition of the State of Palestine.

On Friday, Armenia’s announcement made it the latest country to recognize Palestine as a state.

While Israel continued its assault on Gaza, several countries recognized the state of Palestine, drawing strong rebukes from Israeli officials.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit welcomed Armenia’s announcement.

It is a courageous decision that reflects the standing of this friendly country on the right side of history, he said.

Gamal Roshdy, spokesperson for the secretary-general, said that the increasing recognition of the Palestinian state reflected a growing conviction among the international community that the continued occupation is not feasible and the need to implement a two-state solution.

Roshdy said that recognition represented an essential step toward the establishment of the Palestinian state on the borders of June 4, 1967.

Roshdy quoted the secretary-general, urging all countries to recognize the state of Palestine as soon as possible. The call also represents the embodiment of the two-state solution and a real contribution to achieving peace and ending the occupation,

On Friday, Egypt welcomed Armenia’s announcement.

In a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Egypt welcomed the decision by Armenia as a supportive step toward realizing the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to end the Israeli occupation and establish their independent state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as the capital.

Egypt valued Armenia’s support for the Palestinian cause, calling for the continuation of efforts by all parties of the international community in pursuit of creating a political horizon that allows for the revival of a genuine peace process that addresses the roots and causes of the Palestinian issue and restores the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, foremost among them their right to establish an independent state.

It called on influential international parties to assume their moral and historical responsibilities to the Palestinian people, to intervene to preserve their rights during this time of humanitarian hardship, to work to put an end to Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, and to recognize the state of Palestine as an essential step toward a just resolution of the Palestinian issue.


Aide to UK minister calls Rwanda migrant plan ‘crap’ in leaked audio

Aide to UK minister calls Rwanda migrant plan ‘crap’ in leaked audio
Updated 52 min 42 sec ago
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Aide to UK minister calls Rwanda migrant plan ‘crap’ in leaked audio

Aide to UK minister calls Rwanda migrant plan ‘crap’ in leaked audio

LONDON: The UK interior minister has defended a parliamentary aide who called the government plan to deport illegal migrants to Rwanda “crap,” in a leaked audio revealed by the BBC Sunday.
A controversial law by the Conservative government allowing irregular migrants arriving in the UK to be deported to Rwanda was finally passed in April, after months of parliamentary wrangling.
But in the recording James Sunderland, a parliamentary aide and Conservative party candidate, was heard saying: “the policy is crap, ok? It’s crap.”
“But it’s not about the policy. It’s about the effect of the policy,” he went on to say, speaking at a Youth Conservatives conference in April.
“There is no doubt at all that when those first flights take off it will send such a shockwave across the Channel,” Sunderland clarified.
Home Secretary James Cleverly said he was “surprised,” when asked about the audio, before saying Sunderland was making a “counterintuitive statement to grab the attention.”
Cleverly told Sky News on Sunday that his aide Sunderland “is completely supportive of the deterrent effect.”
Sunderland told the BBC he was “disappointed” to have been recorded at a private event, and said although the policy is “not the be all and end all,” it is “part of a wider response.”
No flights deporting asylum seekers have actually taken off yet for the African country, due to lengthy legal challenges and with parliament dissolved ahead of a looming general election on July 4.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said the policy would only come into effect after the election, if he was re-elected.
The opposition Labour party — which looks poised to replace the Conservatives — has promised to scrap the Rwanda plan.
The government cleared a law allowing some asylum seekers to be deported in April, circumventing a Supreme Court ruling that said sending migrants to Rwanda in this way would be illegal because it “would expose them to a real risk of ill-treatment.”
Supporters of the Rwanda policy say it will deter tens of thousands of annual cross-Channel arrivals by small boats, and insist the policy is already having an impact.
More than 12,000 irregular migrants have crossed the Channel to Britain on small boats this year, according to government data.


Ex-champion Murray out of Wimbledon after back surgery

Ex-champion Murray out of Wimbledon after back surgery
Updated 57 min 3 sec ago
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Ex-champion Murray out of Wimbledon after back surgery

Ex-champion Murray out of Wimbledon after back surgery

LONDON: Two-time Wimbledon champion Andy Murray has been ruled out of this year’s tournament after undergoing back surgery, the ATP Tour confirmed on Sunday.
“After an operation on a spinal cyst, Andy Murray is sadly out of Wimbledon. Rest up and recover Andy, we’ll miss seeing you there,” the ATP said on X, formerly Twitter.
The Scot had been aiming to make a farewell appearance at the grass court Grand Slam, which he won in 2013 and 2016.
However, the 37-year-old will need an expected six weeks to recover from surgery with Wimbledon starting on July 1.
He now also faces a race against time to be fit for next month’s Paris Olympics, with Murray twice a gold medallist in the singles.
Murray managed just five games before a back injury forced him to withdraw from his second-round match against Australia’s Jordan Thompson at the Queen’s warm-up event in London on Wednesday.
The former world number one, who plays with a metal hip, struggled from the start of his match against Thompson and said afterwards he had a feeling of weakness in his right leg and had lost coordination.
“I never had that loss of coordination, control and strength in my leg before,” Murray said shortly after retiring from his match with Thompson.
“I’ve been struggling with my back for a while — I had lost the power in my right leg so lost all motor control, I had no coordination and couldn’t really move.”
Asked then about his prospects of playing at Wimbledon, he added: “Like all tennis players, we have degenerative joints and stuff in the back, but it’s all predominantly been left-sided for me my whole career.
“I have never had too many issues with the right side. So maybe there is something that can be done between now and then to help the right side.”
Murray underwent minor back surgery in 2013 and following a first-round loss at the recent French Open he said he would need treatment to address soreness.
The three-time Grand Slam champion only returned to competitive action in May after nearly two months out with an ankle injury.
He had been due to play singles and doubles with his brother Jamie at Wimbledon before potentially ending his career at the Olympics in Paris.