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Aspiring Media Students Talk about Media and A.I. At the Ikshana Fest hosted at Xavier Institute of Communications

by Neha Athavale, student of Journalism and Mass Communications, Batch 2023-24

On 4th November 2023, Xavier Institute of Communications (XIC) recently concluded its three- day media fest: Ikshana 2023. Derived from Sanskrit, the word ‘Ikshana’ signifies evolved knowledge in its purest form; which captures the essence of fest. The annual festival is designed to provide students across the nation a platform, where they can explore the field of media, by participating in two competitions: Short Film Festival and the Great Storytelling Race. The theme of this year was ‘Artifical Intelligence and Education’.

XIC invited around 30 undergraduate student delegates from all over nation who had participated in the competitions. The first day festivities included a Mumbai Darshan for them, and the screening of "The Face of the Faceless"  directed by Shaison Ouseph, Associate Dean of XIC and produced by Sandra D’Souza Rana, the Dean of XIC.

The second day featured a panel discussion on AI in Education with notable speakers, consisting  Dr. Kavi Arya, professor of computer science and engineering at IIT Bombay, Ms. Tejasvini Allikanti, founder and CEO, Mr. Saikat Das, Assistant Professor at the SP Jain Institute of Management and Research. Two of XIC’s bright students also joined the panel, Lay Shah from the Advertising and Marketing Communication and Aakansha Biradar from Journalism and Mass Communication courses participated in the discussion. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Joseph Rose. They all  emphasised on the need for democratic and fair use of AI. Dr. Kavi Arya, while speaking on AI and its uses said, “AI is very transformative, this revolution is no different than when computers came in education.” “Legacy jobs are going to reduce. How do you create new jobs?” he further added. Talking from a teaching perspective, Saikat Das stated that, “Our focus shouldn’t be on if students are copying from AI but whether it is adding value or not.”

Later in the day, the delegates participated in the Media Quiz where they tackled questions related to the media industry, AI and general knowledge. Post-lunch, the XIC students conducted the Campus Walk giving the delegates a tour of the heritage structures of the college and the infrastructure of XIC.

The last day included the "Listening Movement,"  joined by esteemed guests Suraja Kishore, BBDO, CEO, Josy Paul, Chairman and CEO, BBDO, Amitabh Saxena and Trupti Vasudev, Founders of Actimedia Pvt. Ltd., Hrishikesh Kannan, producer & presenter on 94.3 RadioOne, Manoj Lobo, cinematographer, Ambi Parameswaran, Brand & Advertising veteran, Joeanna Rebello Fernandes, writer and journalist. This programme presented a platform for students to to interact and learn from industry professionals.

This was followed by the panel discussion on AI and Media with a panel of illustrious industry professionals who brought to the table discussions on the disruption of AI in their respective media fields. The panel included: Hrishkesh Kannan, RJ at Radio One, Sachin Kalbag, Journalist and Fellow at Taskshashila Institution, Anjali Malthankar, Brand Strategist, Tonic World and Manoj Lobo, choreographer, and Deval Samanta, DOP.

The grand finale featured dance and band performances with filmmaker R. Balki as the Chief Guest. The awards ceremony was the highlight of the evening with the grand prizes for the two competitions presented by R. Balki presenting accolades. The Winners of the Short Story and Short Filmmaking contests were Rathina S from Nehru College of Arts and Sciences, Coimbatore, and The Education Society, Bhavanipur, respectively. 

The event emphasised the intersection of creativity, technology, and storytelling, leaving a mark on the landscape of media and communication.