The Bengaluru GAFX 2024 theme, ‘Augmented Intelligence: Powering AVGC’, addresses the critical need for intelligence to sustain the impressive growth rates observed in the AVGC sector. In an interview with Pickle, Biren Ghose, Managing Director, Asia Pacific at Technicolor and President ABAI, the driving force behind Bengaluru GAFX 2024, shares insights on how AI and Gen AI are currently leveraged in the AVGC sector and how the industry plans to navigate the market while maintaining a balance between innovation and ethical considerations. Biren is also Vice Chairman of CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment.
Can you elaborate on how Bengaluru GAFX 2024 aims to create an ecosystem for the AVGC sector, considering the diverse range of stakeholders involved?
Bengaluru GAFX 2024 signifies a turning point for the AVGC sector, transcending the boundaries of a conventional conference. This event aspires to be an ecosystem where industry leaders, academia, government officials, and international influencers converge to catalyze the growth and development of the AVGC industry. The diverse range of stakeholders provides a unique opportunity for knowledge exchange, fostering collaborations that transcend industry boundaries. It’s not merely about discussing trends and challenges; it’s about creating a dynamic environment where insights from different sectors synergize to pave the way for the future of AVGC within India.
The event goes beyond the traditional by not only acknowledging the technological advancements and creative innovations within this sector but also by integrating perspectives from other sectors. Even though the overarching goal is to amplify Karnataka’s role as a global hub for AVGC innovation and development, this event will bring together some of the top minds within all AVGC and related ecosystem constituencies – Studios, MSMEs, Investors & Funds, Tech Service Providers, Academia, Research, Hardware, Software, Cloud, Data Centers, Government Departments across both Centre and State [skilling, industry, culture, IT, etc]; Trade Associations, Other State Governments, International Leaders, Consul Generals, International Trade and Business Bodies and lots more all under one roof to discuss how do we push to grow the Indian AVGC sector and the help create an ecosystem that expands the Brand India story.
The theme of Bengaluru GAFX 2024 is ‘Augmented Intelligence: powering AVGC.’ How does this theme align with the industry’s need for intelligence, particularly in sustaining impressive growth rates?
The theme ‘Augmented Intelligence: powering AVGC’ addresses the critical need for intelligence in sustaining the remarkable growth rates of the AVGC sector. The AVGC industry needs to continue their story, games at a galloping 20-25% CAGR, Animation at around 18-19% CAGR, VFX at 30-35% CAGR and games growing astronomically given the mobile and broadband enablement in India – how do we keep this momentum going? This is among the fastest growing M&E countries in the world albeit on a relatively smaller base? This creates the imperative to explore new dimensions of intelligence.
Bengaluru GAFX 2024 aims to delve into how “augmented intelligence” can be harnessed to keep this momentum going andto propel the Indian AVGC industry as a global leader, with Karnataka continuing at the forefront.
Augmented intelligence in this context means leveraging technology, trends, and industry insights to navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities. It involves embracing cutting-edge technologies like AI and understanding how these technologies can be applied creatively. The theme underscores the industry’s commitment to continuous innovation, ensuring that the AVGC sector remains at the forefront of technological advancements while preserving its creative essence. The leadership at ABAI with myself, have been working for the last 14 years, towards creating a holistic ecosystem that supports the local sector at every level, from nurturing emerging talent to facilitating international collaborations. We want to see more success stories emerging – homegrown and contributing to the “Made in India” for the world brand. And events like Bengaluru GAFX are fundamental in laying the ‘yellow brick’ road to the global market.
In the context of AI and Gen AI, how does the AVGC industry currently leverage these technologies, and what role do they play in reshaping the sector?
The strategic integration of AI has become pivotal in creating immersive and realistic experiences. Over 70% of top AI apps are intricately tied to image making. Gen AI, in particular, has ushered in a transformative era, and will potentially impact elements of the M&E value chain.
In content creation, AI accelerates real-time VFX rendering, reshapes sound design, and introduces groundbreaking innovations like virtual news presenters. This transformative power extends to gaming, where AI crafts hyper-realistic environments, predicts player movements, and even generates adaptive personal narratives. Music, too, undergoes a revolution with AI, reshaping user experiences and contributing to the creative process. The collaborative potential of humans and Gen AI is steering the industry towards novel paradigms, promising a future where creativity is amplified through intelligent technology.
While the global industry will benefit from Gen AI, India has the chance to gain disproportionately if it can capitalize on building expertise in Gen AI quickly. If India takes the first-mover advantage in the following areas, it can create a huge impact. Technicolor’s experiential content creation brand – The Mill has for the past 5 years – seen firsthand – how AI can create new content paradigms. In 2022, The Mill crafted a campaign with MasterCard where they used AI-based neural rendering to create a young Messi. Matthew McConaughey’s ad for Salesforce, was done with AI.
Considering the challenges and opportunities presented by the integration of Gen AI, how does the AVGC sector plan to navigate this landscape, ensuring a balance between innovation and ethical considerations?
The fervor with which the M&E sector has adopted digital technologies earlier, and the excitement of Gen AI, has also resulted in concerns. Concerns of regulation.
The Gen AI wave in India’s media sector brings opportunities amid challenges. Debates on AI’s creative ownership and data protection arise. Balancing innovation and ethics is crucial. Thus, a collaboration of the future where it is “humans + Gen AI” is imperative. With the right blend of policy, innovation, and ethical considerations, a new era of Indian storytelling beckons.
Even though the AVGC sector’s role as a trailblazer in adopting and shaping cutting-edge technologies reflects a promising future where creativity and technology converge to redefine the landscape of visual storytelling, there is still a lot more we as an industry need to explore in concern to GEN AI and ML. Bengaluru GAFX, as a leading industry event, serves as this very platform to showcase and discuss these advancements, ensuring that the AVGC sector continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of the creative and technological landscape, especially within India.
Looking ahead, what are the key focus areas and initiatives that the AVGC sector, particularly in Karnataka, plans to undertake to enhance its share in the global market, and how does the AVGC Policy 3.0 contribute to these goals?
The AVGC sector in Karnataka is strategically positioned to enhance its role as a global innovation leader, and AVGC Policy 3.0 plays a pivotal role in shaping this future. With a focus on technology, talent, and intellectual property (IP), the sector is gearing up for sustained growth. Incentives, such as tax benefits and grants for original IPs, are key initiatives to stimulate homegrown content, placing India prominently on the global creative map.
AVGC Policy 3.0 is not just a document; it’s a roadmap that envisions generating 30,000 jobs, fostering sustainability, and positioning Karnataka as a global hub for AVGC-XR technologies. The policy emphasizes creating a robust talent pool through initiatives like AVGC Academies and fostering collaboration among industry stakeholders with ABAI taking charge. Additionally, the focus on increasing incentives under the Incentive Scheme for Audio-Visual Co-production and Shooting of Foreign Films in India positions Karnataka as an attractive destination for global content creators.
The state’s commitment to education, with numerous animation and gaming institutes, further strengthens its foundation for industry growth. AVGC Policy 3.0 is not just a policy; it’s a comprehensive strategy to propel Karnataka’s AVGC sector onto the global stage.