Microsoft’s ‘Jugalbandi’, a generative AI chatbot developed to assist people with accessing information on government schemes, facilities, and procedures in India, now covers 10 of the country’s 22 official languages and 171 of approximately 20,000 government programmes, Microsoft stated in a blog post on May 23. The blog post is making news because it makes huge claims on how the AI model used will revolutionise access to information, particularly in Indian villages. Here’s a brief look at what Jugalbandi is. What is Jugalbandi?: Jugalbandi was launched in April as a generative AI-driven chatbot accessible through WhatsApp. It can process speech or text inputs in different Indian languages and generate responses, based on the government databases that the chatbot is trained on. The chatbot is powered by large language models provided by AI4Bharat and reasoning models from Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service. AI4Bharat is a government-backed initiative operating in IIT Madras. It focuses on research for providing AI-based solutions to language barriers in access to governance models. Nandan Nilekani, Co-founder and Chairperson of EkStep Foundation is the project's primary sponsor. EkStep also provides the technical infrastructure for DIKSHA, the government's e-learning platform. Jugalbandi also uses Bhashini, a language translation platform, launched in 2022 by the IT Ministry to improve access to digital services in Indian languages and to create an “open-source repository of usable datasets” for training AI models. In February, the Indian Express reported that the Bhashini team is working on a ChatGPT-powered chatbot for India's rural population to facilitate access to information on government initiatives. The other collaborators for Jugalbandi include…
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