Microsoft and OpenAI launched ChatGPT just months ago, igniting tech enthusiasts and industry leaders. This generative AI’s technology is now reaching remote villages hundreds of miles from Seattle and San Francisco.
Jugalbandi, a chatbot developed by Microsoft, OpenNyAI, and AI4Bharat and backed by the Indian government, is improving information access for Indian villagers by providing insights into over 170 government programs in 10 indigenous languages.
India is the world’s second-largest wireless market, but its rural areas lack technological advancement. 11% of the country speaks English, while 57% speak Hindi. Lacking even regular media access, these communities struggle with literacy.
Microsoft wrote in a blog post that language barriers prevent large populations from accessing government programs.
Jugalbandi uses WhatsApp, an India-wide platform, to bridge this gap. Jugalbandi lets users ask questions in their native language and receive answers in text and voice using AIBharat language models and Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service reasoning models.
“This time around, this technology reaches everybody in the world,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Build on Tuesday. “There are two things that stood out for me: things that we build can in fact make a difference to 8 billion people, not just some small group of people, and to be able to do that by diffusion that takes days and weeks, not years and centuries, because we want that equitable growth and trust in technology to protect the fundamental rights that we care about.”
Microsoft plans to expand Jugalbandi to help villagers with a variety of needs in India, a perfect fit for the tech giant.
The U.S. tech giant is also working with many Indian companies to democratize information access. Gram Vaani. Gram Vaani’s platform is voice-responsive. This system lets volunteers give farmers personalized advice. It claims 3 million northern and central Indian users.