Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Alliance AI & Society Confest 2024: Unveiling the future of AI in Bengaluru

A fusion of insights from academics, Industry experts and artists uniting

Published: Apr 17, 2024 06:43:49 PM IST
Updated: Apr 18, 2024 11:25:58 AM IST

Alliance AI & Society Confest 2024: Unveiling the future of AI in Bengaluru

The Alliance University AI & Society Confest 2024, one of its kind initiatives hosted by any university, unfolded over three dynamic days from March 1st to 3rd. In collaboration with CNBC TV 18, this convergence of intellects and perspectives brought together industry luminaries, esteemed academics, and visionary artists to delve into the profound implications of artificial intelligence across various sectors. Notably, the event was facilitated by the School of Liberal Arts, showcasing how liberal education seamlessly integrates with cutting-edge technology, embodying a symbiotic relationship rather than a dichotomy. This harmonious fusion underscores the university's commitment to providing an enriched, interdisciplinary learning environment.

The event commenced with a visionary inauguration led by Mr. Abhay G. Chebbi, Pro-Chancellor of Alliance University. Mr. Chebbi articulated a vision to position Bengaluru as a global epicenter for the convergence of technology, culture, literature, and the arts, underscoring the pivotal role of AI in this endeavor.

Dr. Anirudh Sridhar, Dean of Thought Leadership, echoed this sentiment in his Welcome Address, highlighting the multifaceted implications of AI beyond conventional paradigms of data processing and machine learning.

The guest of the inauguration was Dr. Michiel Baas, the event curator, and a senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute, who illuminated the creative dimensions of AI, shedding light on its potential to foster innovation and artistic expression. He also underscored the need for individuals to engage with AI technologies to comprehend their functions and implications fully.

Dr. T. G. Sitharam, Chairman of the All-India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), New Delhi, inaugurated the AI Video Wall, setting the tone for the day's proceedings followed by his insightful keynote lecture and ground-breaking revelations. Professor Sitharam emphasised the crucial role of Alliance University in driving forward the frontiers of AI research and innovation, underlining the significance of collaborative initiatives among faculty, students, and industry partners. He also inaugurated the Media Lab at Alliance School of Liberal Arts, highlighting the institution's dedication to both technical and liberal arts education. This expansion emphasizes Alliance University's commitment to offering a comprehensive and interdisciplinary learning environment, providing students with advanced media studies and hands-on experiences.

Throughout the event, panel discussions and keynote lectures delved into practical implications, ethical considerations, and transformative potential of AI. Industry leaders, academics, and professionals shared insights on AI governance, its intersection with various domains such as media, psychology, design, and mental health, as well as its geopolitical implications in warfare. These discussions prompted critical reflections on the evolving role of AI in society and its ethical ramifications.

A particularly noteworthy session focused on the intersection of AI and education, with discussions revolving around personalized learning experiences and the ethical dilemmas posed by AI-driven technologies in educational settings. This discussion was enriched by the perspectives shared by Dr. T.G. Sitharam.

The keynote addresses at the event featured renowned experts shedding light on critical aspects of AI. Dr. Hiroki Habuka, a Research Professor at Kyoto University, offered insights into Japan's approach to AI regulation in 'The State and Future of AI Governance: A View from Japan.’ Dr. Mark Coeckelbergh, a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Vienna, explored the evolving societal role of AI, emphasizing ethical considerations.

Paper presentations constituted a significant aspect of the confest, featuring researchers presenting papers on diverse sub-themes. Notable presentations included 'AI and sustainability' by Stefano Rozzoni from the University of Bergamo, Italy, and 'AI and its impact on daily life' by Karn Malhotra.

The discourse on 'AI and design' provided a platform for Dr. Alok Nandi, Creative Director, Architempo, and Mr. Harshit Agarwal, Machine Intelligence Design, Adobe, from Machine Intelligence Design at Adobe to delve into the intricate interplay between creativity and technology, offering valuable insights into the transformative potential of AI in revolutionizing design processes and enhancing user experiences.

During his keynote speech, Lt. Gen. Raj Shukla, Retired Indian Army Officer, reflected on the existential challenges posed by rapid technological advancements, prompting attendees to meditate upon the ethical and societal dimensions of AI-driven innovation. His remarks highlighted the importance of responsible AI deployment in navigating the complexities of the digital age.

A mesmerizing musical performance by the Generative Jugalbandi, displaying the harmonious fusion of artistry and technology was one of the major highlights of the event. There were in-house fashion shows and cultural activities that gave more color to the Confest.

The grand finale comprised a vibrant AI art exhibition at the Bangalore International Centre (BIC), showcasing the creative endeavors of talented artists exploring AI as a medium of artistic expression. Dr. Francesca Ferrando, Professor of Philosophy, New York University, and Mr. Tanuj Solanki Author of "The Machine is Learning," Dr. Mark Coeckelbergh, Professor of Philosophy of Media, and Technology, University of Vienna, in their panel discussion shed light on the evolving concept of artificial consciousness and the existential questions posed by advancements in AI technology. The session also highlighted the graphic novel "Dream Machine," authored and illustrated by Mr. Appupen (George Mathen) visual artist and comic creator underlining the intersection of AI and digital art.

A highlight of the Confest was the exploration of AI's intersection with the arts, with innovative installations and artistic performances showcasing AI as a medium of creative expression. The Alliance School of Design & Creative Arts curated several remarkable artistic installations at the Anekal campus, including 'Infinite Binaries,' which immerses viewers in a tactile representation resembling the inner workings of a computer. Another notable piece, 'Radiant Strands,' exemplifies repetition and emphasis, culminating in a captivating fusion of artistry. This installation seamlessly integrates 2D concepts into a sophisticated 3D experience, symbolizing the intersection of AI and artistry, where past craftsmanship propels us into a futuristic realm.

The dynamic AI art exhibition at the BIC vividly showcased how AI is reshaping contemporary artistic expression. Its inclusive nature, welcoming professionals, artists, and AI enthusiasts from all walks of life, underscored its broad and diverse appeal.

Among the highlights was 'Radio' by Mr. Hasan, challenging urban-centric views of AI. Hasan's installation offers a glimpse into a scenario where AI reaches remote villages, depicted through a radio that generates music tailored to the emotional needs of listeners, as envisioned by a village psychologist.

The event culminated in reflections on the multifaceted discourse that unfolded over the three days, highlighting the significance of interdisciplinary engagement in understanding AI's impact on society. Participants departed with a deeper understanding of AI's transformative potential and a commitment to navigating its complexities in a responsible and inclusive manner.

While Bangalore emerges as India's AI capital, Alliance University is committed to leading technological innovation and shaping conversations about its societal impact. With initiatives like the 'AI and Society' Confest, the university is redefining academia by integrating AI across disciplines and fostering cultural innovation. This event serves as a testament to Alliance University's dedication to interdisciplinary exploration and its vision for the future of education and technology.

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