St. Edmund’s College, Shillong, on September 23, organised Geeks Camp: A Day Dedicated to Technology, within its premises. As the cool September air embraced one and all, the enthusiasm of students and teachers was infectious.
The event was organised by two clubs, House of Geeks and Computer Club, in collaboration with the Department of BCA and IQAC. “Bridging the Digital and Physical World” was the theme for the poster making competition. Debates, typing master and micro sessions, among others, were some activities.
Speaking with The Meghalayan, Jethro J.R. Jyrwa, President of the House and fifth semester BCA student, said, “We decided to have a tech fest as part of the Centenary celebrations. We got ideas to have sessions on ChatGPT, debate and quiz competitions, to name a few. Our teacher-in-charge, Prof. RajniKhyriem encouraged us to go ahead with it.”
“House of Geeks is for geeks who come from across streams in our college. We celebrate geek-dom where we are interested in learning about technology,” he added.
Inside the auditorium, students were scattered in clusters. Some were busy solving riddles, while others were excited about virtual reality.Another interesting aspect of the event was the 15-minute micro sessions. Notable among these were, “ChatGPT Prompts” by Aayan K. Gogoi; “Flutter” by former student, KyrshanlangDkhar; and “Interactive Animation for Apps/Websites” by Aiborlang Nongkynrih.
In speaking about interactive animation for apps/websites, Nongkynrih spoke about a game in indigenous language… similar to word power but in Khasi and Garo. Not only is it intended to keep the present generation rooted in their culture, but words of affirmation in Khasi, KhliehShalak(You’re so clever!) adds a humorous touch.
Students were drawn to the “Typing Master Competition” near T Lab, Botanical Garden. Young faces challenged each other in a spirit of camaraderie.On the blackboard were the high scores, calculated in terms of accuracy and speed measured in “word per minute” (WPM). Three names stood out: Kahoring (68 WPM), Ginthianmuang (57 WPM) and Sandeep (56 WPM).
Colourful posters touched upon the motto: “Beyond the Imaginary”. Some of them were titled, “We Are The Future Together”, “Isekai (a different world where robots and humans are best friends)” and “Digital Meets Physical: Where Imagination Becomes Reality”.
One of the debate sessions was on “Human Existence will be Threatened by Artificial General Intelligence”.
First year student of Department ofBCA, Debaditya Dey, spoke in favour of the motion. Terming the session as “surreal”, he said, “AGI is a complex subject. It has helped us a lot and will achieve innovation on a scale, unimaginable. The consequences are greater too. Risks have to be less than the gain. Balance is required to have technological progress, grounded in empathy.”
Prof. RajniKhyriem touched upon the meaning of geek. Gone are the days when it was used to taunt and bully so-called nerds. Geeks, in her words, have reclaimed the term in a world that is (and will) usher in technological progress.
Chuckling, she said, “The word used to be a stereotype. Things are changing. It is no longer a label to describe someone who is lost and absorbed with programming, for instance. Now, it is a badge of honour. The IT sector is a driving force now. Look around and you see people in IT embracing technological progress. We say it with pride… We are geeks!”
On the roots of the club, she added, “Would you believe it if I told you that students came from other departments? Technology is exciting for everyone.”
Back in the day, clubs like House of Geeks seemed aspirational. Presently, the college has embraced a ‘Gen Next’ attitude.
What will the future look like? Let’s ask the geeks in the club.