Only 63 per cent of enrolled political science PhD students have graduated since 2000

Multiple years with over 100 enrolled students saw 10 or fewer graduates from 2000–2019

Only 63 per cent of enrolled political science PhD students have graduated since 2000

Data obtained by The Varsity shows that between 2000–2019, on a combined average only 10.14 per cent of enrolled political science PhD students graduated each year. This is lower than the 2018 average statistic for PhD students at U of T, which stands at 22.17 per cent.

Of the approximately 453 students who were registered in the program from 2000–2019, there have been 284 graduates, resulting in 62.7 per cent of enrolled students graduating over 19 years.

Five years had 10 or fewer graduates, while other years also seem to have disproportionately low numbers of graduates relative to the program’s intake. From 2001–2014, the average rate of enrolled students graduating was 9.57 per cent. Since 2014, the number of graduates per year does seem to be going up, but the average for those years is still only slightly over 10 per cent, at 11.2 per cent.

Jacques Bertrand, Associate Chair and Graduate Director of Political Science, wrote to The Varsity that PhD students in political science rarely leave the program without graduating, though they can take leaves of absence.

Currently, Arts & Science PhD students at U of T pay a yearly tuition of $6,900. Those in the humanities and social sciences receive $17,500 in base funding, set to increase next year. The faculty also launched several programs, such as the Milestones and Pathways programs, which aim to provide academic and practical skills to students.

Bertrand wrote to The Varsity that in his opinion, the amount of graduates seems proportionate when compared to the intake of 25–28 new students per year.

He noted that the average student graduates in six to seven years, even though the timeline on the department’s website only goes up to five years. While graduate students lose department funding after five years, Bertrand noted that there are still other funding opportunities and opportunities within the department.

However, the department is making attempts to lower the graduation time, such as approving student proposals earlier, and it is “hoping these numbers will go down in the next 2-3 years.”

He noted that while the department has had some students graduate close to the cutoff of 10 years, none have ever reached that point, and that “very few students leave the program and don’t finish.” He added that the department is working on ways to provide more support for students.

UTGSU Annual General Meeting addresses safety concerns, debates legitimacy of BDS committee

Motion to condemn Jewish Defense League passed, financial statements approved

UTGSU Annual General Meeting addresses safety concerns, debates legitimacy of BDS committee

The University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) Annual General Meeting (AGM) was readjourned on January 27 after failing to meet quorum on December 5. It addressed a number of motions pertaining to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanction (BDS) campaign, including a motion by the committee to ban the Jewish Defense League (JDL) from campus and a motion by a member to oppose the BDS committee altogether.

The wider BDS movement lobbies corporations, universities, and local governments to sanction the Israeli government and boycott Israeli goods to protest the country’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Some critics of BDS argue that the movement aims to delegitimize Israeli sovereignty, while others characterize the movement and its leadership as anti-Semitic. Previously, the UTGSU Executive Committee was accused of anti-Semitism when it was hesitant to participate in Hillel UofT’s Kosher Forward campaign — which aimed to bring kosher food options to campus — on the grounds that the group was pro-Israel. This subsequently led to the resignation of External Commissioner Maryssa Barras, a position which has yet to be filled.

Members of the BDS committee explained that the JDL, which the Canadian Anti-Hate Network has called an “anti-Muslim group on the extreme fringe of the Jewish community,” has disrupted BDS events in the past, and remains a safety threat to members of the committee.

As an indicator of the JDL’s threat level, BDS committee members highlighted an instance of violence by the JDL against individuals protesting a November 20 event which featured Israeli Defense Force reservists at York University.

The JDL had put out a call to disrupt the UTGSU AGM; however, no such disruptions took place.

A motion was passed at the meeting that stated that the “UTGSU membership condemns the JDL violence against York University student protestors and their allies on November 20,” and moved that the UTGSU membership put out a call to the U of T administration to ban JDL from campus.

An attempt by a member to amend the motion to not specify JDL, but rather oppose “all terrorist organizations” from campus was rejected by the membership.

The meeting began with a controversial motion by the Chair, Jeremy Rothschild, to strike the discussion on anti-Semitism; the discussion on BD; and the discussion on sanctions, divestment, or boycotts, from the agenda due to the fact that the meeting fell on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. He said that members should not have to “relive what their families [experienced] and the sort of discussions that surround the question of anti-Semitism on campus.”

Rothschild felt that the membership as a collective should have the right to decide whether it wanted to engage in such discussions on International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The membership rejected Rothschild’s motion to strike the motions, and thus they were kept on the agenda.

However, by the time the AGM arrived at the member’s motion opposing the BDS committee, only six minutes remained in the UTGSU’s booked time for the room. Chaim Katz, the mover, briefly explained his motion, noting that, “This is an opportunity to maintain a stance, of being active in human rights support, but not only singling out the Jewish state,” before the meeting was adjourned.

Internal Commissioner Adam Hill told The Varsity that the unaddressed motions can only be revisited at the next UTGSU AGM. The meeting also saw the UTGSU’s financial statements passed and next auditor approved by the membership.

Graduate Students’ Union accused of anti-Semitism in kosher food dispute

UTGSU formally apologizes after criticisms from Jewish campus group Hillel UofT

Graduate Students’ Union accused of anti-Semitism in kosher food dispute

The University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) is facing allegations of anti-Semitism for its original reluctance to support the Kosher Forward campaign, an initiative by Hillel UofT to bring kosher food to campus. Hillel UofT, a prominent Jewish organization on campus, has criticized the union for “conflating the Jewish fight for kosher food with [its] support of the Jewish state.” The UTGSU has since apologized and External Commissioner Maryssa Barras resigned on November 21 in the midst of the dispute.

Hillel criticizes the UTGSU

The controversy began when a UTGSU Board of Directors member reached out to Barras to ask if the UTGSU Executive Committee would present an Executive Motion at its upcoming General Council meeting in support of the Kosher Forward campaign. The response given by Barras, according to the UTGSU’s statement, “mistakenly… insinuated that the UTGSU Executive Committee might be reluctant to bring the motion forward to the UTGSU General Council/Board-of-Directors as a result of Hillel being ‘pro-Israel.’”

However, in her response Barras also directed the member to other avenues to submit the motion, according to the UTGSU’s statement.

In its press release, Hillel condemned the conflation of Israel and all Jewish issues as a form of anti-Semitism.

Responding to Hillel’s press release, the UTGSU wrote on November 17 that the original comments were “not on behalf of the UTGSU’s executive committee,” and stated that it provided the student with an avenue to submit the motion through the Equity and Advocacy Committee.

Hillel’s central complaint with the UTGSU’s apology was that it did not “address the anti-Semitic nature of their original response.”

This is not the first time that the UTGSU and Hillel have been in conflict. Last February, the UTGSU enacted a permanent Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Committee on Israel, leading Hillel to comment that they were “very disappointed” with the decision.

UTGSU external commissioner resigns

After representatives from both Hillel and the UTGSU met for discussions, the UTGSU announced in a November 21 press release that Barras had submitted her resignation. The press release notes that the resignation was due to “the anti-Semitic comments written regarding the Kosher Forward Campaign.”

The UTGSU “[recognizes] that this incident reveals a larger issue of anti-Semitism and discrimination,” also noting that the Executive Committee will undergo anti-oppression training in order to address anti-Semitism in their organization.

After the resignation press release, Hillel wrote that it is “grateful” that the UTGSU has expressed a “willingness to bring forward a motion to support the Kosher Forward campaign,” and suggested the possibility of the two groups working together to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Kosher Forward

Hillel represents U of T’s Jewish student population, which is estimated at 1,000–1,500 students. It started the Kosher Forward petition for greater access to kosher food on campus, led by students Sofia Freudenstein and Chaim Grafstein.

Grafstein said that the motivation behind the project was “this sense that as a Jewish student on campus you have to ask for a lot in order to get kosher food, and you feel this huge burden to make a case for yourself wanting or needing kosher food.”

Grafstein said that he wanted to get involved in the cause when he was invited to a conference held by his department, which he claims did not provide kosher food for those who required it. “And there was a noticeable group of people who kind of felt excluded, because they just couldn’t eat anything.”

Currently, students who keep kosher have no options for kosher food in residence meal plans or from U of T-run food vendors on campus. There are no kosher meal plans in the residence system, and students who keep kosher cannot share a kitchen that is not kept kosher. In the meantime, Hillel has been filling the need for kosher food by providing access to kosher dinners during the week and kosher snacks in its office.

“Their time on campus is marked by food uncertainty,” reads the petition’s description of students who keep kosher, noting that many other universities provide more kosher options than U of T.

As the campaign ended on November 23, the petition and its signatures were sent to the Office of the President, with whom Hillel is requesting a meeting in order to discuss the petition. Although Grafstein noted that the petition already has a few hundred signatures, he emphasized that “It’s an issue of accessibility, not an issue of numbers.”

Community response

Freudenstein and Grafstein expressed their disappointment at the campaign being politicized: “I very much care about the kosher campaign and saw it as a non-partisan issue,” said Freudenstein. “This kind of exploding — I just didn’t sign up for this.”

Grafstein commented that as a graduate student, he felt that the UTGSU’s apology was lacking. “At the beginning of [UTGSU] meetings there’s an equity statement that’s read [and] included in that is anti-Semitism, so to see a statement and an apology that doesn’t even use the word anti-Semitism and instead uses phrases like ‘harmful toward Jewish students at U of T… is really hurtful and it feels like my participation in equity in the UTGSU is compromised as a Jewish student.”

In an email from the UTGSU Executive Committee, which was sent on November 25, the group wrote that Barras’ resignation was her own decision and that “the UTGSU has not taken a stance on the Kosher Forward Campaign, as was mentioned in the initial email response as well as in the public memo. The UTGSU Executive Committee has contacted Hillel representatives, and is looking forward to continuing dialogue with them.”

A university spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Varsity that the UTGSU is an “autonomous student organization that acts independently from the University of Toronto.”

The UTGSU “[is] required by university policy to operate in an open, accessible and democratic manner and to allow a diversity of perspectives to be heard. We have written to the group to remind them of this obligation,” noted the spokesperson.

The university also expressed willingness to discuss the campaign and explore further options for kosher food on campus in an email to The Varsity.

The University of Toronto Students’ Union, representing undergraduate students, released a statement in support of the petition.

Barras declined The Varsity’s request for comment.

Editor’s Note (November 25, 5:17 pm): This article has been updated to include comment from the UTGSU Executive Committee. It has also been updated to correct that there are no other vacancies on the executive committee other than the external commissioner.

Social Justice Education caucus breaks off from OISE Graduate Students’ Association

Dissociation the result of UTGSU investigation into constitutional violations of OISE GSA

Social Justice Education caucus breaks off from OISE Graduate Students’ Association

The Social Justice Education (SJE) Student Caucus has decided to break away from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education Graduate Students’ Association (OISE GSA), following findings of constitutional violations. The SJE Student Caucus is now a course union under the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU), which recognized the caucus on October 29.

The SJE course union represents students at the Department of SJE, which is part of OISE.

Dissociation of the association

The UTGSU Executive Committee confirmed to The Varsity that “The SJE Student Caucus reached out to inquire about all possibilities for their fellow members in early October.”

Nolan Fontaine, the SJE Student Caucus’ Internal Coordinator, explained in an interview that the dissociation followed an online referendum among SJE students. The referendum, which occurred that month, showed that a majority of voters wanted to form their own course union with the UTGSU, according to Fontaine.

When asked about the motivation behind the dissociation, Fontaine said that the conclusions of the UTGSU’s investigatory committee that examined the matter were “pretty glaring in terms of constitutional violations.”

The committee found 20 constitutional violations in the OISE GSA’s April elections. As a result, the UTGSU General Council voted to de-affiliate the OISE GSA from the UTGSU in a meeting on September 27.

According to the UTGSU’s documentation, “the OISE GSA executives individually submitted [their] resignations as of October 1st, 2019.”

What does this mean for Social Justice Education students?

In an email to The Varsity, the UTGSU Executive Committee wrote that the “SJE Caucus, like all other course unions, is eligible to receive funding [from the UTGSU] in the form of a head grant.” Head grants are funds distributed by the UTGSU to its recognized course unions and are paid by the annual fees collected from graduate students.

It continued, “[The SJE course union] will also be represented on the UTGSU General Council/Board-of-Directors; the SJE course union will have three seats (votes) on the board of directors as per UTGSU Bylaw.” Fontaine noted that an additional advantage for the SJE Caucus following this move was increased autonomy for its group. However, he said that he is not personally opposed to the OISE GSA.

“Course unions and departmental student associations are more of a community for a lot of students,” he remarked. “For us to just turn our backs, just on the actions of… a few [executives], doesn’t help the greater [student body] from a utilitarianist sense.”

“We really just want to move forward [with a] clean slate, and really see [to the needs of our] students and constituents.”

The Varsity has reached out to the OISE GSA for comment.

UTGSU General Council meeting discusses SCI, onsite mental health counselor

Outgoing finance commissioner on incidental fees: “not necessarily what you thought you were paying for”

UTGSU General Council meeting discusses SCI, onsite mental health counselor

In a recent Board of Directors meeting, the University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) addressed holdover items from its September board meeting.

Branden Rizzuto the outgoing UTGSU finance commissioner whose resignation will take effect on November 1 gave a report on how many students opted out of the UTGSU’s fees, in accordance with the province’s Student Choice Initiative (SCI). The SCI allows students to opt out of incidental fees deemed “non-essential.”

The UTGSU’s mean fall 2019 opt-out rate for full-time students, across all optional fee categories, was 17.48 per cent and 25.95 per cent for part-time students.

“We’re actually in pretty decent shape,” said Rizzuto. He noted that he had planned for a “variety of revenue loss scenarios,” even considering opt-out rates of 70 per cent. “What is actually more of a threat to us, is not the overall revenue loss… but it’s that the University of Toronto has used the SCI to limit our financial autonomy.”

The UTGSU’s fees are separated into a number of optional fees categories which constrains the way the union can spend its money. Funds raised in one area, like “academic support,” cannot be used for any other purpose. Rizzutto explained that the university has determined where “80 per cent” of the UTGSU’s funding will go because of this categorization of fees.

Before the UTGSU was aware of how many students opted out of its fees, it proposed changes to its funding structure in anticipation of a significant drop in its budget. The first of the motions would have introduced a linear model for department head grants. This would have jeopardized the funding of small departments, and so another motion was proposed that would have evened out the distribution of funds to small departments.

After some debate, both motions failed. Members expressed that because the opt-out rates were manageable, they preferred to revert back to the original funding model.

When asked why the proposed linear model had two different sources of funding, Rizzuto responded, “The University of Toronto misled everyone and put hidden fees in all of the fee categories.” For graduate students paying their incidental fees, Rizzuto described the fee structure as being “not necessarily what you thought you were paying for.”

He explained that one of the UTGSU’s essential fees, “academic support,” contained within it a $4.87 fee that had to be used for department head grants. This is despite the fact that there is a department head grant fee within the UTGSU’s levies that was deemed non-essential. For this specific section of the budget, part of the funding was deemed essential, while the remainder was subject to student choice.

The UTGSU also passed a motion to increase mental health services for its members. “This is a little bit prompted by recent events, but this actually is a conversation that’s been ongoing between myself and the finance commissioner,” said Sophie McGibbon-Gardner. Due to Rizzuto’s resignation, McGibbon-Gardner was appointed Vice Chair Finance Committee at the meeting.

“We kind of have a vision of providing a service that is impossible to implement by administration, and that would be having an onsite mental health support system that is integrated into the GSU,” continued McGibbon-Gardner. She added that a lengthy consultation process to identify the needs of the GSU membership would be the first step in this process.

Rizzuto spoke in favour of the motion, saying that the UTGSU had enough funding for the proposal. Last year, the UTGSU added five dollars to their Health and Dental Administration fee. “We have the funds, I estimate that we might have upward of $100,000 to put toward these types of initiatives.”

Rizzuto was also appointed head of the UTGSU legal ad hoc committee.

UTGSU Finance Commissioner announces November resignation

General Council votes to de-affiliate with OISE GSA at September meeting

UTGSU Finance Commissioner announces November resignation

During a lengthy General Council meeting on September 27, University of Toronto Graduate Students’ Union (UTGSU) Finance Commissioner Branden Rizzuto resigned from his position effective November 1.

At the same meeting, following extensive debate, the council voted to de-affiliate with the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education (OISE) Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) on the recommendation of the UTGSU’s Ad-hoc Committee after it found 20 constitutional violations in April’s GSA elections.

Rizzuto’s resignation

“It is my personal opinion that the UTGSU has, for quite some time, suffered from a lack of accountability in its internal operations,” said Rizzuto, announcing the end of his fourth term as an executive elected to the union.

The commissioner cited an inability to continue properly executing his duties due to “multiple personnel and bodies in the UTGSU [neglecting] their duties and responsibilities for excessive periods of time.” He further described an inequitable and unsustainable workload. With the developments of the UTGSU’s legal challenge against the Ford government, and the Student Choice Initiative, Rizzuto intends to remain until November 1 to ensure that particular duties are fulfilled before his departure.

“I feel that, while I have made earnest attempts to address and resolve the issues I have stated in this letter, I have ultimately remained unsuccessful,” concluded Rizzuto, who read from a letter. Council members thanked Rizzuto for his work, but also sought to know more about his allegations — to which Rizzuto also declined to specifically name any individuals.

The Finance Commissioner position will be filled through a process voted on by General Council, which will be held at a future Council meeting, according to an email from the UTGSU Executive Committee.

Rizzuto and the Executive Committee declined to comment on the announcement.

De-affiliating with the OISE GSA

On the recommendation of the Ad-hoc Course Union Investigation Committee (adCUIC), General Council voted to de-affiliate with the OISE GSA, following an investigation that found a total of 20 constitutional violations in the April GSA elections. Out of four recommendations made by the adCUIC, the union passed the only punitive measure in the last 30 minutes of the meeting. Heated debate preceded the vote, which saw disagreement between advocates for de-affiliation and concerns from members that felt they did not know enough to vote.

Effective from the time of the council’s vote, OISE GSA’s four representatives on General Council are no longer allowed to vote; they do not have representation on council in any course union, but all students will remain UTGSU members with access to the union’s services.

Desiree Sylvestre, on behalf of the outgoing OISE GSA executives, wrote to The Varsity in an email: “The issues we are presented with at the OISE GSA are multi-layered and complex, involving different approaches and expectations regarding the priorities and style of student governance.”

While the UTGSU Executive Committee abstained from the vote to de-affiliate, Sylvestre maintains that the Committee did not reach out to mediate following the election investigation. The outgoing GSA executives also alleged that the Committee “exponentially aggravated” tensions when suggesting that the GSA rejoin the union as a course union, which would cut down the amount of union dues that the GSA collects from its members through the UTGSU. The UTGSU Executive Committee asserts that its members “[remain] pointedly separate from any discussions happening internally at OISE or elsewhere within the University.”

Sylvestre concluded, “I am truly disappointed in the UTGSU, they operate in a punitive environment with no hope for solidarity. My hope is that OISE students will become more involved and take steps to successfully challenge the systems that exist within the UTGSU, beginning with their Executive Elections.”

Due to only getting through a quarter of the agenda items for the September 24 meeting, the next General Council meeting will occur before the October 29, according to the Executive Committee.

Chemistry PhD student named 2019 Vanier Scholar for innovative research proposal

Austin Marchese recognized for his exceptional leadership and scholarly research

Chemistry PhD student named 2019 Vanier Scholar for innovative research proposal

Austin Marchese, a U of T Organic Chemistry PhD student supervised by Professor Mark Lautens, has been named a Vanier Scholar — one of Canada’s most prestigious awards for students in doctoral studies.

Marchese was awarded the scholarship for his research proposal “Novel Enantioselective Nickel-Catalyzed Transformations Forming Medicinally and Industrially Relevant Halogenated Compounds.”

The proposal details his findings that affordable nickel-based catalysts — which can speed up the rate of a chemical reaction without being consumed — could be used in an innovative way to produce compounds important in medicine and industry.  

The impact of Marchese’s research

Writing to The Varsity, Marchese explained that the first part of his research proposal explored a “unique phenomenon” that he and his colleague observed in the course of their research.

“We discovered a rare and intriguing method to generate our compounds with moderate enantioselectivities,” he wrote. An enantioselectivity is a tendency for a reaction to produce one particular variant of a product, in greater quantities than another.

“We would like to understand why exactly we see this phenomenon and how we can exploit it and improve upon it,” he added. “A breakthrough in this would yield a useful and interesting synthetic technique to generate these divergent medicinally relevant compounds with high enantioselectivities.”

The second part of the proposal is to develop improved methods to form bonds between carbon and fluorine. “This methodology would be of interest to pharmaceutical researchers,” noted Marchese, “as carbon-fluorine bonds are ubiquitous in biologically active compounds, but there is a severe lack of synthetic methodologies available to install these bonds in a mild and selective manner.”

“In an ideal world, both parts of my proposal would come together; a nickel catalyzed process of this nature to enantioselectivity generate medicinally relevant compounds while installing an invaluable carbon-fluorine bond, but we are quite far away from achieving this.”

The positive attitude of an organic chemist

Marchese attributed his ability to overcome challenges during his doctoral studies to his passion for his research.

“I believe if you genuinely enjoy what you do and have confidence in yourself,” wrote Marchese, “everything will turn out alright.”

“Many people in my field do very long days, but if you enjoy it does not feel like work. It is similar to the lessons I learned competing Varsity track and field in undergrad; you put in a lot of work so those short instances of success become more rewarding, and that propagates you to work harder after.”

“Expectations do go up in grad school, and you have less time to study and work between deadlines, so I just try to stay calm and trust that if I give it my best and put in as much effort as I can, everything will work out.”

U of T team wins top prize at KPMG’s international AI competition

Paramount AI team created device that sorts waste with 94 per cent accuracy

U of T team wins top prize at KPMG’s international AI competition

A team of five U of T graduate students named Paramount AI won first place in KPMG’s 2019 Ideation Challenge, a worldwide competition to develop solutions to problems facing businesses using artificial intelligence (AI). KPMG is one of the world’s top four accounting firms.

The U of T students faced off against 600 participants from top universities across nine countries, including Canada, Australia, China, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

The final round was held from May 10–12 in Amsterdam, where the students — Maharshi Trivedi, Nikunj Viramgama, Aakash Iyer, Vaibhav Gupta, and Ganesh Vedula — won the top prize for their innovation, which used AI to automate waste segregation.

Paramount AI’s innovative solution

The winning innovation is a sorting system able to distinguish between three different categories of waste: recycling, organic, and garbage.

Iyer, who is specializing in data analytics and financial engineering, explained that the initial prototype of the system used LED light bulbs and basic circuits to classify the waste.

The five students worked continuously, with little breaks and limited sleep during the three days of the competition, which came at the expense of exploring Amsterdam.

The reward for their efforts came in the confirmation of the practicality of using the system in real-life situations. The device completed both a financial and market analysis by the end of the competition.

The importance of waste segregation

Viramgama, who is specializing in data analytics and data science, explained that the team chose to focus on the issue of waste segregation because they were concerned about improper sorting in Toronto.

He noted that about one in three residents in Toronto contaminate the waste they place in recycling bins, and that 20 per cent of waste placed in blue recycling bins ends up in a landfill.

Since there is limited landfill space, this has motivated government spending on improved waste management. An increase in spending may lead to a raise in taxes,which makes the emergence of automation in waste segregation something that can greatly benefit our waste management.

The U of T team tackled this issue by creating a system that accurately sorts waste about 94 per cent of the time. Current waste systems have an accuracy of only up to 74 per cent, and each percentage of accuracy translates to significant savings for spending on waste management.

The pressing need for a solution to this environmental problem, which has economic consequences, could be a reason why Paramount AI won the competition.

The other reason, explained Vedula, was that the team was “not only thinking about saving the environment, but… also trying to help businesses [maximize] profits.”

The future of Paramount AI

The next step for Paramount AI is to present their prototype to experts at KPMG’s annual AI summit in October. By then, the team hopes to further develop their model, aiming to continue increasing the accuracy of their system, while likely adding new features to increase the value of the product for potential clients.

The students currently have the intellectual property rights of their invention. With the support of KPMG, the team is interested in looking to commercialize their product.

They are also optimistic about the future of AI in positively shaping the lives of Torontonians, as a whole. “We completely believe that in the next few years, we will see AI being integrated in every part of our lives, because there is a huge potential,” said Vedula.

“[AI] is already involved in making our lives easier.”