NITI Aayog has partnered with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Patna and private players to develop a voice interface that will interact with users in 18 languages
Software programs that mimic human conversation, Chatbots, has been one of the hottest trends in artificial intelligence and marketing in 2018. In a recent study conducted, 80 per cent of businesses reported that they already use or plan to use Chatbots by 2020.
However, these Chatbots interact and communicate mostly in languages such as English, German, French, Italian and Spanish.
India, being a diverse country, is home to 22 major languages. English is also one of the widely spoken languages but regional languages are most prevalent in native regions. So to address this, recently NITI Aayog has partnered with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Patna and private players to develop a voice interface that will interact with users in 18 languages.
Virtual Assistance in Local Language
The Indianised version of Amazon Alexa or Google Home can be used to address daily issues related to agriculture, skills, health or education. The virtual assistant device will be capable of voice interaction, music playback, to-do lists, streaming podcasts, playing audio books and providing real-time information such as news, weather, traffic and sports reports in local languages.
NITI Aayog collaborated with IIT Patna to develop a natural language processor (NLP) for commercial use. Under this, required modifications will be identified in the existing technology to make it suitable for India users in local languages.
New Technological Development
Technological Development in Indian Languages (TDIL) is also under the pipeline. A first on its kind dictionary for India, a Conceptual dictionary is being developed.
This dictionary would help decipher the correct meaning of words and help in translation, dialogue generation, question-answering and information retrieval in 18 Indian languages.
Impact on Businesses
This chatbot would impact all e-commerce companies, education institutes, any company. For instance, an airline that uses chatbots can now interact in multiple languages. Many e-commerce companies have shown interest in such a product.
The main idea was to have Natural language processing (NLP) driven conversational bots in the future, reaching all corners of India and its diverse languages to help India’s vast population to benefit from the technology.
The government plans to partly fund the project to promote its commercial production. This will open up a wide range of opportunities not just for users at the local level but holds vast business potential for entrepreneurs as well.