In a transformative stride towards the advancement of homegrown artificial intelligence (AI) in India, the BharatGPT consortium, supported by Reliance Industries led by Mukesh Ambani and prominent engineering institutions across the nation, is on the brink of launching its inaugural ChatGPT-style service.

This pioneering initiative, christened ‘Hanooman’, epitomizes a collaborative effort between eight Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), Reliance Jio Infocomm, and the central government, signalling a concerted push towards indigenous AI development.

Hanooman promises to revolutionize diverse sectors by leveraging AI capabilities tailored to local languages and specific domains such as healthcare, governance, financial services, and education.

Collaboration and Development

The genesis of Hanooman underscores a landmark collaboration between Reliance Industries, renowned IITs, and governmental support, symbolizing a paradigm shift in India’s AI landscape. Backed by Reliance Jio Infocomm and esteemed academic institutions, this endeavour signifies a concerted effort to harness AI potential within indigenous frameworks.

Ganesh Ramakrishnan, Chair of IIT Bombay’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering, emphasized the consortium’s commitment to inclusivity, with Hanooman poised to operate across 11 local languages, catering to diverse linguistic demographics.

As Hanooman inches closer to fruition, its development highlights a fusion of technological prowess and collaborative synergy, laying the groundwork for innovative AI solutions tailored to India’s multifaceted needs.

Hanooman’s unveiling promises a transformative leap in user interaction through its speech-to-text capabilities, as envisioned by Ganesh Ramakrishnan during the Nasscom IT industry conference. With the ability to decipher and respond in local languages, Hanooman transcends linguistic barriers, offering a seamless interface for users across various sectors.

LLMs, or Large Language Models, are designed to assimilate extensive datasets and produce responses that sound natural. These systems leverage generative AI, a modern form of artificial intelligence made prominent through the achievements of OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

It’s a different genre of LLMs,” said Ganesh Ramakrishnan, chair of IIT Bombay’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering. 

The model’s demonstration, featuring interactions ranging from a motorcycle mechanic conversing in Tamil to a banker engaging in Hindi, underscores its versatility and adaptability. Moreover, Hanooman’s application extends beyond mere conversation, as evidenced by a Hyderabad-based developer leveraging the tool for coding tasks, hinting at its potential across diverse domains.

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Competitive Landscape 

Amid BharatGPT’s ambitious strides, the AI landscape in India witnesses burgeoning competition, with startups like Sarvam and Krutrim vying for prominence. Bolstered by substantial investments from notable venture capitalists such as Lightspeed Venture Partners and Vinod Khosla’s fund, these entities are spearheading efforts to develop open-sourced AI models tailored to Indian contexts. 

BharatGPT’s distinctive proposition lies in its private-public partnership, a pioneering initiative fostering collaboration between industry stalwarts and academic luminaries.

It’s like the Indian joint family,” remarked Ramakrishnan, alluding to the enduring inter-generational family setups prevalent in the country. We are interdependent, and we do better together,” he added.

As the race for AI dominance intensifies, BharatGPT’s holistic approach emerges as a harbinger of inclusive innovation, poised to redefine India’s technological trajectory.

Beyond Hanooman’s imminent launch, Reliance Jio’s foray into AI transcends conventional paradigms, with endeavours like ‘Jio Brain’ poised to revolutionize service delivery for its vast subscriber base.

With plans to deploy AI across its network of approximately 450 million subscribers, Reliance Jio exemplifies a corporate behemoth embracing AI as a cornerstone of its strategic vision.

The conglomerate’s proactive stance underscores the transformative potential of AI in reshaping diverse sectors, from telecommunications to retail, propelling India towards the forefront of technological innovation on a global scale.

Marketing Dynamics

Competing with established players like OpenAI, spearheaded by figures like Sam Altman, poses a significant challenge, yet BharatGPT’s ambitious initiative to develop Hanooman presents a promising contender. “The first version of the model, an open-source model, will likely be launched with 7 billion parameters,” said Amol Gite, director of projects at SML.

Hanooman’s strategic advantage lies in its focus on localization and cultural relevance, tailoring AI solutions to address specific needs across various sectors within the Indian context.

The goal is to build generative AI capabilities for India, marrying Bharatiya linguistic and cultural heritage with technological innovation for catering to the large need for AI in the country,” Ganesh Ramakrishnan told The Economic Times.

 By collaborating with Reliance Industries, prominent academic institutions, and the Indian government, BharatGPT capitalizes on a unique blend of industry expertise and academic research, fostering rapid innovation and development.

Moreover, Hanooman’s alignment with national goals for indigenous technological advancement positions it favourably, potentially garnering support from policymakers and regulatory bodies. With an initial emphasis on sectors such as healthcare, governance, financial services, and education, Hanooman aims to establish credibility and trust among users, laying the groundwork for broader adoption.

Hanooman itself borrows from the benevolent power inspired by Lord Hanuman and it reflects our dedication to public good,” Ramakrishnan said. “We are using the immense strength of generative AI solely for the benefit of others, not for personal gain.”

Furthermore, Hanooman’s integration with Reliance Jio’s ecosystem offers unparalleled scalability and reach, leveraging the telecom giant’s extensive subscriber base and strategic initiatives like ‘Jio Brain’. This integration not only facilitates seamless adoption but also enhances Hanooman’s competitive edge within the Indian market. 

While challenging established players like OpenAI requires continual innovation, regulatory navigation, and tangible delivery of benefits, Hanooman’s unique value proposition, strategic partnerships, and localized focus position it as a formidable contender in India’s burgeoning AI landscape.

Enterprises currently use models like ChatGPT and are paying heavily for every transaction they do. Also, the biggest apprehension for them is of the data being shared. If we are offering something that is going to be in their own premises, then I don’t think it is going to be of cost, but a capability question,” Gite told The Economic Times.

Success hinges on its ability to stay ahead of the curve, delivering impactful solutions that resonate with users and stakeholders alike, ultimately solidifying its position in the ever-evolving realm of artificial intelligence.

The impending launch of Hanooman epitomizes a watershed moment in India’s quest for indigenous AI development, propelled by collaborative synergies between industry leaders and academic stalwarts.

As BharatGPT’s innovative model heralds a new era of AI-driven solutions tailored to local contexts, it underscores the nation’s resolve to leverage technology for inclusive growth and societal advancement. With Reliance Jio’s strategic initiatives complementing this endeavour, India stands poised to chart a transformative trajectory in the realm of artificial intelligence, setting the stage for unparalleled innovation and economic resurgence.

Sources: Economic Times, Deccan Herald, Indian Express

Feature image designed by Saudamini Seth

Find the blogger: Katyayani Joshi

This post is tagged under: Hanooman, Indic, AI, artificial intelligence, public good, public gain, public interest, local AI, ChatGPT, open AI, innovation, culture and linguistics, language, Indian languages, Indian AI, Bharat GPT

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