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Innovating Media Through AI-ML: A riveting panel discussion at GMEC’s first International Conference


On April 12th, 2024, at the Jio World Convention Centre in Mumbai, ‘The Edutainment Show,’ organized by Deepak Choudhary, led EVA Live and, in partnership with the ‘Media and Entertainment Skills Council of The Government of India,’ hosted an instigating panel discussion at the GMEC’s first (Global Media Education Council) International Conference. The theme of the evening, “Innovating Media Through AI-ML,” brought together a preeminent group of scholars and industry leaders to explore the transformative potential and inherent challenges of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in the media terrain.

The esteemed moderator, Prof. Ambrish Saxena, Dean of the DME Media School and Secretary of GMEC, skillfully guided the discourse. Prof. Ujjwal K Chowdhury, the former Advisor to Daffodil International University and Vice President of GMEC, delivered a compelling keynote address. He accentuated the notion of AI as a powerful assistant forever subordinate to human mastery and underscored the inevitability of AI’s integration into the media ecosystem.

Prof. K G Suresh, President of GMEC and Vice Chancellor of Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University of Journalism and Communication, assumed the role of session chair. His concluding remarks echoed the theme of responsible innovation throughout the discussion.

Sayings That Echoed

Dr Snehasis Sur, a senior journalist and President of the Kolkata Press Club, shed light on the impact of AI on news generation and delivery. He championed AI’s role in content customization, data mining, fact-checking, and newsroom automation, acknowledging the crucial role of MeitY’s advisory on responsible AI models. Speaking of MeitY, “MeitY, the “Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology” in India, has concentrated advisories on responsible AI models, emphasizing the imperative of ethical development and deployment. These directives comprehensively address critical aspects, including bias mitigation, stringent data privacy safeguards, transparent and accountable practices, and the integration of human oversight mechanisms. By championing these principles, MeitY champions the creation of AI technologies that not only adhere to societal values but also proactively mitigate risks, thereby fostering innovation while safeguarding against adverse impacts.

Ms Utkarsha M, a Communication Specialist and Public Policy Consultantdived into the ethical considerations surrounding AI use in media. While acknowledging AI’s creative potential, she cautioned against the dangers of privacy surveillance, bias, and the erosion of human autonomy. Ms. M referenced the unsettling concept of “Hunger Station,” an AI-powered system dictating dietary choices, as a potential threat to independent thought. Questioning the ‘sustainability’ of AI, she mentioned how the use of AI brings a ‘lingering dark hour’ on Earth.

Mr Deepak Kumar, Managing Partner of Dentsu Gaming, offered a thought-provoking discussion on AI-ML’s influence on the gaming industry. He explored the concept of AI-induced ‘entitlement’, where games manipulate difficulty levels to foster a sense of inevitable victory in players. This, Mr Kumar argued, raises questions about the authenticity of player experience within the virtual world.

That being said, Dr Mira Desai, Professor and Head of the Department of Extension and Communication at SNDT Women’s University, introduced the unsettling spectre of an AI-driven existential crisis. She recounted the story of a PhD student whose thesis, suspected to be AI-generated, highlighted the potential for AI to undermine critical thinking and academic integrity. Dr. Desai emphasized the importance of human collaboration and communication in the face of AI’s rise. Shooting a concrete emphasis, she said, “Life is physical, not virtual.”

Prof. Sanjeev Bhanawat, a former Head of the Centre for Mass Communication, argued for a shift in educational focus. He emphasized the need for educators to cultivate “Vichaar,” or critical thinking, instead of rote memorization. Prof. Bhanawat expressed concern about AI’s potential for manipulating thought processes and generating preposterous translations. And he mentions one such example: “Communication Today” becomes “Sanchaar Aaj.”

Prof. K G Suresh, in his finale remarks, buoyed the importance of striking a balance between embracing AI’s possibilities and exercising caution.’ He highlighted the vulnerability of media to manipulation, citing the recent deep-fake controversy involving actress Rashmika Mandanna and the doctored video of Prime Minister Modi. Prof. Suresh stressed the vital role of media literacy in empowering audiences to discern truth from fiction. He highlighted the distinction between knowledge and wisdom, advocating for education that breeds independent thought and critical analysis.

The first ‘GMEC International Conference’ panel discussion on “Innovating Media Through AI-ML” blooms as a springboard for a thoughtful and nuanced exploration of this complex and rapidly evolving landscape. The insights offered by the esteemed panellists shed light on the potential for AI to revolutionize the media industry while simultaneously suiting as an unalloyed reminder of the ethical considerations and challenges ahead. As we move forward, the onus rests upon us to harness the power of AI responsibly, ensuring that it remains a tool for human progress rather than a threat to our autonomy and critical thinking abilities.