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Microsoft Unveils a Multilingual Chatbot through WhatsApp

CIO Insider Team | Wednesday, 24 May, 2023
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Microsoft unveiled Jugalbandi, a multilingual chatbot powered by generative AI and accessible through the well-known messaging app WhatsApp.

An Indian research team called Jugalbandi has been using generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) to develop mobile help that would make information on government programs available in a variety of languages.

Jugalbandi is backed by Microsoft and Infosys co-founder Nandan Nilekani. Jugalbandi utilized AI4Bharat language models and Microsoft's Azure OpenAI Service for artificial intelligence (AI).

During a recent trip to India, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was intrigued by this app, which was created by the government-sponsored program AI4Bharat using reasoning models from Microsoft Azure OpenAI.

Using data from databases maintained by the Indian government, which are being uploaded one at a time, the AI chatbot has adjusted its model.

Along with OpenNyAI, which strives to democratize judicial systems, researchers from Microsoft Research have also contributed to this endeavor as part of their work with AI4Bharat.

Since its early April launch, the tool has been accessible in ten of India's 22 official languages, whether spoken or written, and it currently covers 171 of the over 20,000 government programs that are available.

It gives consumers access to data about numerous government initiatives, a lot of which are available in English, and then transmits that data back to them in the language of their choice.

In India, English is spoken by only 11 percent of the total 1.4 billion population, and Hindi by 57 percent, making language a barrier to accessing information. “We saw this Jugalbandi as a kind of ‘chatbot plus plus’ because it's like a personalized agent,” said Abhigyan Raman, a project officer at AI4Bharat, an open-source language AI centre based at IIT-Madras that is a collaborator on the chatbot.

“It understands your exact problem in your language and then tries to deliver the right information reliably and cheaply, even if that exists in some other language in a database somewhere."

Along with OpenNyAI, which strives to democratize judicial systems, researchers from Microsoft Research have also contributed to this endeavor as part of their work with AI4Bharat.

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