Tech Mahindra initiates ‘Project Indus’ to challenge OpenAI


Imagine if your computer or phone could understand and speak not just one language, but many different ones, like Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, and more. That’s what Tech Mahindra is working on with Project Indus. They’re creating a special kind of computer program, or model, that can talk to people in different Indian languages. It’s like having a super-smart language assistant!

Now, creating such a smart language program isn’t easy. It’s a bit like teaching a robot to understand human conversations. This program needs to learn lots of words, sentences, and phrases from different Indian languages so that it can chat naturally with people.

However, there’s a challenge. Indian languages are diverse and unique, and getting enough examples of how people talk in these languages is a bit tough. It’s like trying to find pieces of a puzzle scattered all around. This is where Tech Mahindra needs help from people who speak these languages. They’re asking those who are familiar with languages like Dongri, Kinnauri, Kangri, and more to share how they talk, the words they use, and even the things they often discuss. This way, the language model can learn and become even better at understanding and responding.

Tech Mahindra’s approach to building this language model is similar to a project called Bhashini, which was started by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Bhashini also focuses on gathering words and sentences from various Indian languages to celebrate and preserve the richness of our languages.

CP Gurnani, the leader of Tech Mahindra, has reached out to people on Twitter, asking them to contribute to the project. He’s interested in languages from different parts of India, like Dongri, Kinnauri, Kangri, and more. By collecting real examples of how people speak in these languages, the project can create a program that feels more like talking to a real person.

Gurnani had previously mentioned in a response to a tweet that Tech Mahindra’s focus is on making this language model specifically for India. This shows that the company is committed to using advanced technology to help people from various corners of India communicate more easily, even if they speak different languages. It’s all about bringing people closer through technology and understanding.

Why Tech Mahindra is focusing on ChatGPT like AI chatbot?

In June 2023, while Sam Altman was on the India Tour, he met many Indian Tech giants and business owners. He made many controversial statements that were not acceptable. He believed India could not come up with AI Chatbots that could compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

“The way this works is we’re going to tell you, it’s totally hopeless to compete with us on training foundation models you shouldn’t try, and it’s your job to like to try anyway. And I believe both of those things. I think it is pretty hopeless,” Altman said back then.

To this, Gurnani replied in a tweet that he had accepted the challenge. He was quick to share Altman’s reply on Twitter, expressing his acceptance of the challenge presented. Gurnani conveyed his determination to prove Altman’s statement wrong. “OpenAI founder Sam Altman said it’s pretty hopeless for Indian companies to try and compete with them. Dear @sama, From one CEO to another.. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED,” he tweeted.

Now as a challenge that he had accepted, he has come up with ‘Project Indus’.  Tech Mahindra’s Project Indus is like a special tool that might help people talk in many Indian languages. This could help different cultures understand each other better and let more people join in on digital things. It might also make businesses grow and inspire other places to do similar things. It’s a way for India to show how smart technology can bring people together.

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