US Consulate General Kolkata & Meridian Jointly Organizes ‘Future of Journalism’ Conclave; Explores AI, AR, VR and MR’s Impact on Journalism

US Consulate General Kolkata & Meridian Jointly Organizes ‘Future of Journalism’ Conclave; Explores AI, AR, VR and MR’s Impact on Journalism

The US Consulate General Kolkata and the Meridian International Center jointly organized a two-day ‘Future of Journalism’ Conclave in Kolkata, India on July 27-28, 2023. The conclave focused on exploring the impact of immersive technologies and artificial intelligence on journalism, with the aim of promoting media literacy and press freedom.

Future of Journalism’ Conclave The event started with a welcome address and an introduction to the program’s objectives & agenda Sameek Ghosh, Chief of Strategic Communications, Press & Social Media at the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata. Afterward, Dea E. Kollekowski, Associate Program Officer at Meridian International Center, and Meg Poole, Program Officer at Meridian International Center, warmly welcomed everyone.

The conclave featured various experts and speakers who provided insights into the latest advancements in AI, AR, and VR and their applications in journalism.

Sarang Nerkar, Founder & CEO at Innosapien Technologies Pvt. Ltd. whose research centers around wearable computing, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and computational photography. He discussed about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its Approaches, SMART Goal Setting, Applications of AI in Journalism, Content Generation and Personalisation using AI. He also explained the concepts of Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

Subi Bhattachrjee, Founder & CEO of IntelliFlux Controls and Parul Wadhwa held a fireside chat about future of digital media, Applications for Emerging Tech (Climate and environment, human rights, politics & public policy, public health, foreign policy & international news), innovations in Immersive Tech, and Data Privacy.

Pradeep Gupta, Founder, Security & Policy Initiatives (ex-PS to President of India) highlighted important topics such as AI Ethics, Policy and Future Horizons, Ethical Frameworks for AI, Policy Landscape, Future Trajectories and Societal Impact.

Matt Kim, Technical Creative Director at Inworld AI, US, provided insights into building filming equipment and generative AI in media. Max Hao Lu, Product & AI Strategy at Bloomberg Media, explained the use of AI and immersive media.

Additionally, Mihir Satam and Palakshi Nerkar from Innosapien Technologies Pvt. Ltd. conducted plenary demonstrations of various immersive technologies, including AR and VR tools, sensor interactions, 360-degree camera demos, DIY live streaming headset demos, DIY VR headset demos, hands-on AI demos, facial recognition demos, AI info cloud demos, generative AI, LLM demos, making AR filters, and creating AR face filters deployable on Meta Platforms.

Gloria Berbena, Minister Counselor for Public Diplomacy at the US Embassy in New Delhi, expressed her support for the project and said, “As the world is moving to a three-dimensional reality, artificial intelligence and immersive technology can reshape the future of storytelling and journalism.  This project titled “Future of Journalism – how Artificial Intelligence (AI), AR and VR videos help support media literacy and press freedom,” implemented by our partner Meridian International in collaboration with our Public Diplomacy Team at the U.S. Consulate General Kolkata, is timely and is helping to train a diverse group of journalists, storytellers, and media professionals like you from all across India.”

“The experts and trainers from the United States and India are helping you to learn to use virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create content and learn how it will transform everyday news media as we have moved to a 5G-networked society influenced by artificial intelligence.  I am glad to see that the project is examining how VR and AR can be used to support press freedom to build a strong media environment in the region,” she added. 

Gloria Berbena, Minister Counselor-US Embassy India, delivering her insightful speech

“The Department of State focuses on AI because it is at the center of the global technological revolution; advances in AI technology present both great opportunities and challenges.  The United States, along with our partners and allies, can both further our scientific and technological capabilities and promote democracy and human rights by working together to identify and seize the opportunities while meeting the challenges by promoting shared norms and agreements on the responsible use of AI.”

“Together with our allies and partners, the Department of State promotes an international policy environment and works to build partnerships that further our capabilities in AI technologies, protect our national and economic security, and promote our values.  Accordingly, the Department engages in various bilateral and multilateral discussions to support responsible development, deployment, use, and governance of trustworthy AI technologies,” Berbena added.

“The United States and like-minded countries, including India, need to work together to shape the course of artificial intelligence,’ Arti Prabhakar, the Science Advisor to President Joe Biden, said last week, as the administration involved several IT giants such as Google and Microsoft to ensure that the technology is not misused and is being used for public good.”

“With this project, we are training you all through a series of virtual and in-person sessions so that you are equipped with the latest techniques of AR and VR to create effective media products to engage target audiences and help shape positive public opinion,” she added.

“I am honored to receive the prestigious certificate at the ‘Future of Journalism’ Conclave, where the US Consulate General Kolkata and the Meridian International Center united forces to delve into the transformative realms of immersive technologies and artificial intelligence. This event marks a pivotal moment in our collective journey toward advancing media literacy and upholding the vital principles of press freedom. Together, we shape the future narrative of journalism, embracing innovation and fostering a resilient & informed society.

-Founder, United Impacts Group

More About Project- Future of Journalism (FOJ):

Through an integrated multi-month virtual curriculum, interspersed with an in-person conclave and small group reporting, independent Indian journalists will: Build individual capacity for digital media, specifically Augmented Reality (AR)and Virtual Reality (VR); Apply new skills to generate immersive AR and VR content on themes of significance to the U.S.–India Relationship; Raise awareness and acuity to identify and combat dis/misinformation, especially growing in the region. Anticipated outcomes include increased employability for participating journalists, raised standards for ethical journalism, strong and robust professional networks, and educated and informed media consumers.

The project successfully trained over 30+ independent journalists selected from various parts of India, fostering increased employability, raising ethical journalism standards, building robust professional networks, and promoting media literacy among informed consumers. The immersive curriculum included virtual workshops, simulations, and an in-person conclave to enhance participants’ capabilities in creating immersive AR and VR content on globally significant themes relevant to the U.S.-India relationship.

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