Shashi Shekhar Vempati on competition in AI | The potential lies in niche models

Given the gap in indigenous development of AI technologies and the huge R&D investments involved, India’s path to global leadership will need a creative convergence of emerging technologies and public-private collaboration

(Illustration by Nilanjan Das / AI)

Shashi Shekhar Vempati

ISSUE DATE: Jan 15, 2024 | UPDATED: Jan 5, 2024 21:55 IST

The promise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and concerns over its misuse have dominated the public debate with Prime Minister Narendra Modi weighing in on the issue in recent weeks. Few perhaps are aware that his monthly radio programme, Mann ki Baat—which is broadcast in over 40 languages—has inspired research in AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP). This digital archive of audio, video and transcripts resulted in an interesting collaboration between researchers of the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIITH) and IIT Kanpur. They used Mann ki Baat as a multilingual test set in Indian languages to establish a baseline for translation of Indian languages, leveraging neural machine translation (NMT) technology a few years ago much before the current hype over ChatGPT and generative AI took the world by storm. These early efforts in availing publicly available repositories of multimedia content in multiple Indian languages have been at the heart of recent advances in AI in India that have made the headlines.

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