AI model backed by Asia’s richest person to launch in March


If successful, the model – dubbed Hanooman after the half-monkey Hindu deity – will represent an advance for India in the accelerating race to develop potentially transformative AI technology. — Reuters

MUMBAI: A consortium backed by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd and India’s top engineering schools aim to launch its first ChatGPT-style service next month.

This is a big step in the country’s ambitions to become a player in the field of artificial intelligence (AI).

The BharatGPT group, encompassing an arm of India’s most valuable company and eight affiliated universities, offered a sneak peek of the large language model on Tuesday during a technology conference in Mumbai.

In a video played before delegates, a motorcycle mechanic in southern India queried an AI bot in his native Tamil, a banker conversed with the tool in Hindi and a developer in Hyderabad used it to write computer code.

If successful, the model – dubbed Hanooman after the half-monkey Hindu deity – will represent an advance for India in the accelerating race to develop potentially transformative AI technology.

BharatGPT envisions the model working via 11 local languages in four main fields: health care, governance, financial services and education.

It developed the model in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology universities including in Bombay, backed by wireless carrier Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd and India’s government.

A swath of startups such as Sarvam and Krutrim, backed by prominent venture capital investors such as Lightspeed Venture Partners and billionaire Vinod Khosla’s fund, are also building open-sourced AI models customised for India.

While Silicon Valley companies like OpenAI are building ever-larger large language models (LLMs), those efforts involve workarounds because of computational constraints and simpler models affordable to smaller businesses and government departments.

“It’s a different genre of LLMs,” said Ganesh Ramakrishnan, chairman of IIT Bombay’s department of computer science and engineering.

Hanooman will also offer speech-to-text capabilities, making it vastly more user-friendly, he said in an interview on the sidelines of the annual Nasscom Information Technology Industry Conference. — Bloomberg

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