Workforce must be prepared to confront the surge in disruptive technology. AICTE Chairman

Workforce must be prepared to confront the surge in disruptive technology. AICTE Chairman

Bhubaneswar: Professor (Dr.) T.G. Sitharam, Chairman of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), emphasized the importance of preparing the future workforce to confront the challenges posed by the rapid advancement of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI). Speaking at the ‘SOA Proxima-2024’ HR conclave at Siksha ‘O’ Anusandhan Deemed to be University (SOA), he acknowledged the mixed feelings of hope and apprehension that arise with the emergence of disruptive technologies like AI.

According to Prof. (Dr.) Sitharam, historical encounters with new technologies have often sparked fear, but humanity has consistently adapted to them. He stressed the necessity of embracing this adaptation once more to effectively address the challenges presented by AI.

During the conclave, attended by HR professionals from various industries and university students, Prof. (Dr.) Sitharam posed critical questions about the potential impacts of AI. He raised concerns about the possibility of humans being replaced by AI, the likelihood of significant job displacement, and the potential for machines to surpass human intelligence, thereby raising questions about human control over AI.

“These inquiries are concerning and require diverse perspectives and critical thinking to be addressed,” he remarked. “It’s humans who developed these technologies to streamline tasks, yet now find themselves facing unforeseen challenges.”

Reflecting on the rapid evolution of AI, Professor (Dr.) Sitharam noted its emergence within the past decade, surpassing human capabilities in various domains such as music, art, and literature, all while operating at unprecedented speeds.

The Chairman of AICTE acknowledged historical apprehension towards technological advancements like computers, mobile phones, and the internet, emphasizing society’s eventual acceptance and integration of these innovations.

He urged for a similar approach towards AI and other disruptive technologies, advocating for collaborative efforts between academia, industry, and effective implementation of their recommendations. “By working together, we can cultivate a workforce capable of navigating emerging technologies,” he added.

Highlighting AICTE’s commitment, he emphasized initiatives to familiarize Indian students and faculty with AI, from integrating courses on emerging technologies to conducting Faculty Development Programs focused on AI and Data Science (DS). “Our primary objective is to enhance the skills of our students and faculty members with cutting-edge technologies,” Professor (Dr.) Sitharam affirmed.

Professor (Dr.) Sitharam commended SOA for hosting an event like ‘Proxima-2024’, providing a platform for intellectual discourse, innovative thinking, and hands-on learning, aiming to unleash the potential of students.

Professor Pradipta Kumar Nanda, the Vice-Chancellor of SOA, who chaired the meeting, highlighted the university’s efforts to bridge the gap between academia and industry, aligning with the objectives outlined in the New Education Policy (NEP). “SOA has established connections with various industries, advocating for experiential learning,” he emphasized.

During the inaugural session of the conclave, Dr. Sandipan Chakravorty, former Managing Director of Tata International, addressed the students, emphasizing the impending transition to a new world shaped by the fifth industrial revolution, marked by advancements in AI, Internet of Things, robotics, and semiconductors. He underscored the importance of acquiring skills in IoT, AI, digitization, and finance to adapt to this evolving landscape. “Continuous learning and self-improvement are essential,” Dr. Chakravorty stressed.

The inaugural session also featured speeches from Mr. Satish Kumar Pradhan, Centre Head of Cognizant in Bhubaneswar, Professor Jyoti Ranjan Das, Dean of Students’ Welfare, Mr. Ripti Ranjan Dash, Director of Corporate Relations and Industry Engagement, and Professor Renu Sharma, Additional Dean of Student Affairs from SOA’s Faculty of Engineering.

In the valedictory session, Mr. Bijay Sahoo, President HR of Reliance Industries Ltd, highlighted the significance of Chat GPT as a recent innovation, noting its absence just two years prior. “It’s a testament to the rapid pace of technological advancement,” he remarked, emphasizing its utility as a knowledge resource.