Business Standard

Chatgpt-style service Hanooman set for launch next month

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A consortium backed by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries and India’s top engineerin­g schools aim to launch its first Chatgpt-style service next month, 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 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 and India’s government.

A swath of startups such as Sarvam and Krutrim, backed by prominent VC 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 everlarger 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, chair of IIT Bombay’s department of computer science and engineerin­g.

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