Countries in the GCC have made significant efforts to diversify its economy over the past decade, making them less dependent on the export of commodities and changes in market prices. The UAE (like Oman and Qatar) has been at the vanguard in its diversification into non-oil sectors such as renewable energy, healthcare, higher education, tourism and hospitality, ICT, water, and space technology where it seeks to be globally competitive. In this regard, the research seeks to measure the competitiveness of these growth sectors versus those countries the UAE is competing against, and that have an established track record of highly competitive sectors (e.g., Germany in renewable energy, the US and Singapore in ICT and Healthcare, etc.).
A substantial challenge facing the utilization of new digital technologies involves the development of effective skills among users. While the Abu Dhabi metro has near universal Internet penetration, its effective use has not been assessed. This study measures the Internet skills of users in Abu Dhabi, including cultural correlates of skill development, and the extent to which Internet users derive real-life (RL) advantages (e.g., financial, health, social, or educational benefits). There are three reasons such study is needed: (1) measurement of digital skills is a new area of inquiry in social science, and has been studied in a narrow set of countries (USA, Netherlands, UK, Chile, Argentina, and Turkey); (2) studies have never been conducted in the GCC, or the UAE; and, (3) only one other study of a Muslim nation (Turkey), making the cultural context unique. With a multicultural population, the Abu Dhabi metro area is ideal for exploring cultural contexts in a non-Western setting and the GCC/MENA regions. Aims of the study include three aspects: (1) to measure digital skill levels of Abu Dhabi residents; (2) to determine cultural determinants of Internet use/skill; and, (3) to determine the relationship between skills and RL outcomes.
The key focus of this study is to investigate the intersection of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Emotional Intelligence (EI) in a business-management context. AI has become a topic of interest among scientific, business, and academic communities. Thus, AI operates using information and computer technologies that are capable of doing intelligent tasks, whereas EI is aimed at improving our emotional and psychological well-being at work and in our lives. Therefore, in contrast, AI promises some workforce efficiencies as well as disruptions in a range of business and pubic contexts such as health care systems, business organizations, and educational institutions. AI has the ability to learn and understand natural language. But can we really trust AI with questions about emotional competence at the workplace? Despite pre-arranged mechanical speaking, does AI have the capacity for and to truly understand human emotions, and managing relationships at work? Furthermore, empathy plays a crucial role assisting emotional competence. How can AI really understand empathy in a complex business environment?
What is missing from the discourse of AI and EI is whether applications of AI need to incorporate aspects of EI so as to countervail the adverse effects of AI-adoption? Conversely, what aspects of EI can contribute to effective design of AI applications? The pervasiveness of AI applications persists in the realms of workplace, consumer service and public service interactions as well as across cross-cultural encounters. This renders a thoughtful consideration of EI in the implementation of AI applications. Therefore, we systematically aim to study the use of EI in 1) design; 2) implementation; and 3) impacts of AI on a range of business and cultural contexts. In doing so, it will offer a critique, relying on a rather sparse and disparate set of studies that have begun exploring aspects of EI in AI design, adoption, and implementation.
The psychological benefits of engaging in voluntary charity will be investigated. O’Connor et al. (2012) reported that people who were other-focused as opposed to self-focused during meditation had lower depressive symptoms, maladaptive guilt, anxiety, and empathetic distress. LaPiere (1934) demonstrated that attitudes do not always reflect behavior, and thus, attitudes reflected during meditation may only represent precursory mental health benefits compared to altruistic action. Islam offers an environment conducive to study the psychological benefits of voluntary charity called Sadaqah. Sadaqah can take the form of Dua (praying for others) and altruistic action such as giving donations to the poor, spreading knowledge to those who cannot afford higher education, and visiting the sick. Babula (2013) posited that people who engage in exocentric altruistic action (helping others without regard for the self) are psychologically healthier compared with those who undertake endocentric altruism (self-interested altruism) and those who do not engage in altruism. People who engage in Sadaqah do so for either endocentric or exocentric purposes.
This research project will administer a battery of psychometric tests to determine whether people who engage in endocentric versus exocentric altruistic prayer and/or action display significant differences in achieving optimal psychological health. The objective will be to discover whether this ancient practice could contribute to traditional Western psychology by helping to alleviate mental suffering. It is anticipated that this research will result in at least two journal publications per year for the next three years detailing the mental health benefits associated with Sadaqah.