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Microsoft partners with Indian startup Sarvam AI: Here’s All You Need to Know from the AI Tour

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella listed the company’s plans for India such as collaborating with startups, as well as Central and state ministries.

What’s the news: Indian generative AI startup Sarvam AI will be working with Microsoft to make its Indic voice large language model (LLM) available on Azure, as per a Microsoft blog on February 8, 2024. The company said the collaboration seeks to “make the development and deployment of generative AI apps in India more accurate and cost effective.”

The announcement came during Microsoft’s AI Tour in Bengaluru, India wherein the company invited select developers from nonprofit organizations, student developers, and large enterprises to discuss future AI opportunities in India. Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO addressed the crowd discussing future partnerships with Indian start-ups and discussed future plans in India.

Microsoft partners with India’s generative AI startup

Microsoft said it will collaborate with the Sarvam AI to provide AI solutions in Indic languages. But first:

What is Sarvam AI? It is a company that “aims to develop a full stack of generative AI solutions, including efficient large-scale Indic language models and an enterprise-grade platform for building generative AI apps.” The blog also said that the company wants to foster a generative AI ecosystem through open-source contributions and large-scale data curation for the public good. The voice LLM will initially be available in Hindi and later expand to cover more Indian languages.

Shiksha copilot launched for the educational sector: While Sarvam AI talks about providing a voice LLM for every day usage, Shiksha Copilot, developed by the Sikshana Foundation and Microsoft Research India, aims to improve learning in India. Powered by Azure OpenAI models, the copilot is part of Project VeLLM focused on addressing the issue of digital divide due to reasons like language.

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“It helps teachers develop a complete lesson plan with engaging content in 60 to 90 seconds instead of 60 to 90 minutes. It is currently deployed in about 30 rural and urban schools in Bengaluru, India, and the Sikshana Foundation is working with Microsoft to deploy it at scale,” said Microsoft in another blog.

Microsoft to partner with the Government of India to build AI-skilled workforce

Nadella also announced on February 7, 2024, that the company planned to invest in an ADVANTA(I)GE INDIA initiative to provide 2 million people in India with AI skilling opportunities by 2025. For this, it planned to work with the Union Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship and 10 state governments to provide basic and advanced training in AI to 500,000 students and job seekers in 100 rural vocational education institutions and training centers.The initiative will build on Microsoft’s existing collaboration with the Ministry to train young people in digital and cybersecurity skills.

Microsoft will further provide in-depth AI technical skills training for 100,000 young women through 5,000 trainers at higher education institutions in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

“India is uniquely positioned to make the promise of AI a reality. We are committed to partnering broadly across the public and private sector to help close the nation’s AI skills gap and create new opportunity throughout the country,” said Nadella.

Aside from the youth, Microsoft will work with India’s National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building, to train 250,000 government officers with essential knowledge of generative AI.

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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