Entrepreneurs, technologists, policymakers, academicians, industry executives, and students came together to discuss how the Odia community can collaborate effectively to build a growth engine for Odisha leveraging artificial intelligence.
The third edition of the annual Global Odias in ML Conference, aimed at promoting the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for the development of Odisha and Odias, ended on a high note with speakers identifying ways and means of leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to accelerate growth for Odisha.
The hybrid conference on 1st October 2021, organized by a group of Odia professionals, also called Odias in ML, with a shared interest in AI and ML, was attended by more than 200 participants. While physical editions were hosted in two locations – Bhubaneswar and Bengaluru – delegates from all around the world joined virtually. Many more watched it on social media channels.
The conference began with the ceremonial theme song and welcome by Anjan Panda, co-founder of Odias in ML and Pradeepta Mishra, convenor of this year’s conference.
In the opening session of the conference, themed The Substrate of Growth, Dr Debendra Das Sharma, Intel Fellow, threw light on how technology has changed and is changing in response to the data explosion. Dr Omkar Rai, Executive Chairman of Start-up Odisha, apprised the audience of the various incentives and policies by the state to encourage the start-up ecosystem, and appealed to the community to take benefit of those. Mr Manoj Kumar Mishra, Secretary IT, Government of Odisha, outlined the steps the government has taken to build an ecosystem by providing access to latest technologies, building skills in collaboration with industry and academia. Dr. Deepak Kumar Sahu, CEO of Kalinga Digital Media stressed the need for greater cooperation between the government and the community. The session was moderated by Shyamanuja Das, co-founder of Odias in ML.
The second session began with a discussion among global chapter leaders of Odias in ML, moderated by Prof Col Aditya Parida. The chapter leaders put forward their ideas of how to build a growth engine and have greater cooperation. Dr Pratyush Kumar Panda, convenor of AI4Bharat Community, outlined how Odisha can use the template to accelerate growth engine building and how better synergies can be built between state and national initiatives. Dr Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, outlined the role of diaspora and cited example of how a small country like Vietnam is grabbing opportunity by being continuously agile and innovative, especially in areas like agriculture and tourism, both of which hold immense potential for Odisha. Mr Akash Dasnayak, Chairman, Mo College initiative appealed to the community to leverage the Mo College scheme to transform colleges in the direction that they want. Kuku Das, community leader and former president Odisha Society of Americas (OSA) moderated the session.
In the third session on the theme, How to do it at Scale, Dr. Anil Patnaik and Utkal Nayak of Build Odisha discussed strategies for driving growth of Odisha at scale and on a sustainable basis leveraging AI. Dr. Devashish Ray, Founder, Odisha Doctors International Association (ODIA), outlined the immense possibilities of transforming healthcare leveraging AI. Debabrata Nayak, CTO of Digital India Corporation, while apprising of the exciting new projects that the government is working on, advised the community to stay focused, start small, and then scale. He also outlined how the community can benefit from the government initiatives. In a spirited talk, M Neelima Mishra, CEO of DaasTek, Sweden discussed how AI can be used for women and child empowerment. Pranav Khaitan, Director Engineering at Google, the man UN’s World Food Program thanked after winning the Nobel, highlighted how AI can very quickly learn from data and why and how we need to consciously look for the biases before using the data for AI. The session was moderated by Utkal Nayak.
In the fourth session on Ode to the Future, Prof Prasant Mohapatra, Vice Chancellor Research, University of California warned about unrealistic expectations from AI, and stressed on the need to adapt equitable and ethical ways. Debu Panda, Senior Manager, Product Management, Redshift at Amazon Web Services, who moderated the session recited an Odia rap song written by him on AI for the occasion.
In the last and final session, titled We did it, the community members shared briefs on AI projects around Odisha and Odia they have worked on. Some of the projects include Shua, a machine translation bot for Odia to English and English to Odia translation, and HANSA, an Odia network builder for the US.
The conference ended on a high note with community members having a freewheeling discussion about what can be done for Odisha leveraging AI and how the community can collaborate to get them done. The leaders of district chapters from Odisha shared ideas for their districts too.
The 4th Odias in ML Conference will take place on 14th October 2023.
Recording of the entire conference can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPrU-3s8ccw
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