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AICTE Chief Bats For AI

Bhubaneswar: The unprecedented surge in disruptive technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) has generated both hope and fear in the human mind but the need of the hour is to equip the future workforce to adopt to such new challenges, Prof. (Dr.) T.G. Sitharam, Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), said on Saturday.

“Every time we have encountered new technology, it injected some fear in the human mind but we learnt to adapt with it and we must do so to face the AI challenge,” Prof. (Dr.) Sitharam said while addressing ‘SOA Proxima-2024’, a two-day HR conclave which began at the Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University (SOA) here on Friday.

The questions being asked today are: Will humans be truly replaced by AI? Or will there be massive job loss? Will machines become super-intelligent and will humans eventually lose control?’ he told the conclave being attended by HR professionals from around 100 industries from across the country and students of the university.

“These questions are alarming and need to be addressed with diverse opinions and thought processes,” he said adding “it is the humans who have created these technologies to make their task easier and have landed themselves in soup.”

Stating that the existence of AI was unknown a decade ago, Prof. (Dr.) Sitharam said it was successfully exceeding human performance in different fields including music, art and literature and delivering at an unimaginable speed.

The AICTE Chairman, however, recalled that humankind had also been apprehensive of new technical developments like computers, mobile phones and internet earlier but learnt to embrace it eventually.

 “The same can be done with AI and other disruptive technologies with right guidance of the academic and industry community and proper implementation of their suggestions,” he said adding “we have to work together to make a workforce which is equipped to handle emerging technologies.”

He said that AICTE was taking serious measures to adapt Indian students and faculty with the use of AI ranging from bringing courses in emerging technologies to conducting Faculty Development Programs on AI and Data Science (DS). “Our only goal is to upskill and reskill our students and faculty members with the advanced technologies,” Prof. (Dr.) Sitharam said.

Prof. (Dr.) Sitharam complimented SOA for organizing an event like ‘Proxima-2024’, a platform for intellectual thinking, innovative ideas and experiential learning, which would harness the potential of the students.

Prof. Pradipta Kumar Nanda, Vice-Chancellor of SOA, who presided over the meeting said that the Deemed to be University was initiating steps to connect the institutes with the industry as emphasized in the New Education Policy (NEP).

“SOA has got connected with several industries and has been promoting the concept of learning by doing,” he said.

The inaugural session of the conclave on Friday was addressed by Dr. Sandipan Chakravorty, former Managing Director of Tata International, who told the students that they would soon face a totally new world and would need to change themselves to adapt to the new situation.

“We are on the threshold of the fifth industrial revolution involving AI, Internet of Things, robotics and semiconductors,” he said adding the students would have to learn four things to keep pace with the changing world— Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, digitization and finance.

“What is important is how you perform and the need is to keep learning and updating yourself,” Dr. Chakravorty said.

The inaugural session was also addressed by Satish Kumar Pradhan, Centre Head of Cognizant in Bhubaneswar, Prof. Jyoti Ranjan Das, Dean (Students’ Welfare), Ripti Ranjan Dash, Director, Corporate Relations and Industry Engagement and Prof. Renu Sharma, Additional Dean (Student Affairs) of SOA’s faculty of engineering.

The valedictory session was addressed by Bijay Sahoo, President HR of Reliance Industries Ltd who highlighted the utility of Chat GPT which is a recent innovation. “It was not there two years ago and it happened in front of all of us,” he said adding “anything I don’t know I turn to Chat GPT for an answer.”