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Unlocking diversity: How AI can shape the future of technology

OpenAI, the pioneering American firm in artificial intelligence(AI) development, has once again made headlines with its latest creation, ChatGPT-4. This advanced chatbot has garnered attention worldwide for its remarkable ability to provide coherent answers to inquiries spanning a vast array of topics, from nuclear engineering to Stoic philosophy. However, while its proficiency in English is commendable, the performance in other languages leaves much to be desired. In languages like Telugu, spoken by nearly 100 million people, ChatGPT-4's performance reveals a significant gap, raising questions about the challenges and opportunities in multilingual AI development.Moreover, recent assessments reveal a notable discrepancy in its performance across different languages, shedding light on the challenges of multilingual AI development.
Though,OpenAI has not revealed much about how ChatGPT-4 was built. But a look at its predecessor, ChatGPT-3, is suggestive .Large language models (LLMs) are trained on text scraped from the internet , on which English is the lingua franca. Around 93% of ChatGPT-3’s training data was in English. In Common Crawl, just one of the datasets on which the model was trained, English makes up 47% of the corpus, with other (mostly related) European languages accounting for 38% more. Chinese and Japanese combined, by contrast, made up just 9%. Telugu was not even a rounding error,according to information.

In the evolving landscape of artificial intelligence (AI), the ability to comprehend and communicate in multiple languages is emerging as a crucial frontier. While AI systems have made significant strides in understanding and generating text in dominant languages like English, the necessity for proficiency in diverse languages is becoming increasingly apparent. This article delves into the reasons why AI needs to expand its linguistic repertoire and the potential implications of embracing multilingualism.
Cultural Inclusivity and Global Reach: Language serves as a gateway to culture, identity, and community. By expanding their linguistic capabilities, AI systems can foster greater inclusivity and accessibility for users worldwide. Embracing multilingualism enables AI to transcend linguistic barriers, reaching diverse populations and engaging with individuals in their native tongues. This fosters a sense of belonging and enhances the user experience on a global scale.
Market Expansion and Economic Opportunities: In an interconnected world, businesses and organizations operate across linguistic borders. AI equipped with multilingual proficiency can facilitate seamless communication and collaboration in international contexts, thereby unlocking new markets and economic opportunities. Whether it's customer service, market research, or content localization, multilingual AI empowers enterprises to navigate global landscapes with agility and effectiveness.
Cognitive Diversity and Innovation: Language influences thought processes and shapes cognitive frameworks. By learning new languages, AI systems gain access to diverse perspectives and cultural nuances, enriching their understanding of human behavior and societal dynamics. This cognitive diversity fuels innovation by inspiring novel approaches to problem-solving, creativity, and decision-making, thereby driving progress in various domains.
Enhanced Cross-Cultural Understanding: Language is intertwined with culture, history, and tradition. AI's proficiency in multiple languages fosters cross-cultural understanding and empathy, mitigating biases and promoting harmonious interactions in multicultural contexts. By facilitating meaningful exchanges between individuals from different linguistic backgrounds, multilingual AI contributes to fostering mutual respect, tolerance, and global solidarity.
Addressing Linguistic Data Gaps: Despite the proliferation of data in dominant languages, many languages remain underrepresented or overlooked in AI training datasets. By prioritizing multilingualism, AI researchers and developers can address linguistic data gaps and promote linguistic diversity. This involves collecting and curating data in underrepresented languages, enabling AI to provide equitable access to information and services for speakers of all languages.
An evaluation by Nathaniel Robinson, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University, and his colleagues finds that is not a problem limited to ChatGPT. All LLMs( Large language models) fare better with “high-resource" languages, for which training data are plentiful, than for “low-resource" ones for which they are scarce. That is a problem for those hoping to export AI to poor countries,in the hope it might improve everything from schools to health care. Researchers around the world are therefore working to make AI more multilingual.
India, a global hub of technological innovation, is accelerating its integration of artificial intelligence (AI) into public services to enhance accessibility and efficiency. With a significant portion of its public services already digitized, the government's recent endeavor to fortify these systems with AI marks a pivotal step towards leveraging technology for societal benefit. In a notable initiative launched in September, the Indian government introduced a chatbot designed to assist farmers in accessing critical information regarding state benefits and agricultural support programs.
As AI continues to evolve and reshape the way we interact with technology, bridging the language gap remains a significant challenge. While ChatGPT-4 demonstrates remarkable capabilities in English, its performance in other languages underscores the need for ongoing research and development in multilingual AI. By addressing the complexities of linguistic diversity and embracing innovative approaches, we can unlock the full potential of AI to communicate effectively across cultural and linguistic boundaries, ultimately creating a more inclusive and accessible digital future.

(Ira Singh, Asstt Editor, Gandhinagar)


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