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On February 22, 2024, ‘BharatGPT’, a prominent consortium comprising Reliance Industries owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani and eight esteemed Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) along with the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), was introduced. They announced their intention to launch an indigenous alternative to the popular conversational AI chatbot ChatGPT in March 2024. The upcoming AI model, named Hanooman, seeks to position India as a global player in cutting-edge generative language technologies.

With India aspiring to emerge as a leading Artificial Intelligence hub and aiming for ambitious goals like the National AI Strategy’s target of making a $1 trillion contribution to the economy by 2036, this joint venture marks a significant stride towards developing locally tailored large language models with advanced technological capabilities and wider socio-cultural significance.

While specific details are yet to be disclosed, BharatGPT stressed their focus on building contextual understanding across India’s diverse languages, expertise in various sectors from agriculture to yoga, and incorporating a blend of entertainment and education. These aspects are viewed as competitive edges for the home-grown chatbot service to challenge the dominance of Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI in this field.

Reliance, with a market capitalization of $200 billion, has been a frontrunner in private sector investments in cutting-edge technologies like 5G telecommunications, green energy, and AI. Leveraging its well-established execution capabilities and extensive reach among millions of retail consumers, Reliance is uniquely positioned to steer the swift adoption of innovative technologies.

Furthermore, BharatGPT operates under a public-private partnership model, demonstrating the commitment of India’s top public technology institutions, such as IIT Bombay, Delhi, and Madras, to provide comprehensive research backing in AI. Reliance and its subsidiary, Asteria Aerospace, will oversee product development, testing, launch, and commercialization within this collaborative framework.

The vision for BharatGPT envisions operations in 11 local languages spanning four crucial sectors: healthcare, governance, financial services, and education. The model was crafted in collaboration with various Indian Institute of Technology campuses, including Bombay, supported by Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and the Indian government.

Large Language Models (LLMs) are sophisticated systems that learn from extensive datasets to generate responses akin to those of humans. These models utilize generative AI, a contemporary form of artificial intelligence popularized by OpenAI’s successful ChatGPT.

As the global movement towards democratizing AI gains momentum to prevent power concentration, BharatGPT aims to reinforce India’s technological self-reliance by leveraging the synergy between academic excellence and private sector leadership.

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