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Artificial Intelligence can destroy language treasures

Noted litterateur Dr. Hampa Nagarajaiah inaugurates National Seminar on Classical Kannada

Mysore/Mysuru: Noted Kannada litterateur Dr. Hampa Nagarajaiah (Ham.Pa.Na) has expressed concern that Artificial Intelligence (AI), which has become a serious topic of discussion worldwide, has the potential to erode the linguistic heritage of any language.

He shared this perspective while inaugurating a three-day National Seminar on “Shastriya Kannada – Samskrutika Parishodhane” organised by the Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Kannada (CESCK) at its auditorium on Hunsur Road in the city on Wednesday.

The senior writer noted that amidst a general election, a seminar like this provides a refreshing break. He emphasised that AI is a topic of much discussion and serious deliberation worldwide due to its potential repercussions.

Dr. Ham. Pa. Na. believed that AI has the potential to destroy the treasure of any language, and therefore institutions like the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) must seriously consider the pros and cons of AI in the field of literature.

President of Kannada Sahitya Parishat Dr. Mahesh Joshi spoke as the chief guest and pointed out that only six languages in India have attained the status of classical language, and four of them are South Indian languages — Kannada, Tamil, Sanskrit and Malayalam.

However, the Kannada language is plagued with a certain hesitation. When people of different languages meet, they tend to speak in their mother-tongue, except Kannadigas who often speak in English, believing that it elevates their status, he said.

“This is a sad situation, as only 64 percent of Kannadigas speak in their mother-tongue, while 97 percent of Keralites, 92 percent of Tamilians, and 86 percent of Hindi-speaking people speak in their respective languages,” he noted.

Dr. Joshi emphasised that Kannada, being a unique language, needs to be spoken more often to safeguard and develop the mother-tongue. He pointed out that Kannada is a complete language and that it was flourishing when English was still in its infancy.

“Despite our efforts to protect the diversity of life, we are not doing enough to promote and preserve the diversity of the Kannada language. According to UNESCO, about 2,500 languages around the world are on the brink of extinction, including 196 Indian languages,” he added.

The seminar was presided over by Director of CIIL Prof. Shailendra Kumar. Deputy Director and Head of Classical Languages Prof. C.V. Shivaramakrishna, Planning Director Prof. N.M. Talwar, writer Dr. C.P. Krishnakumar and District President of Kannada Sahitya Parishat Maddikere Gopal were also present.

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