While the ChatGPT phenomenon has raised concerns about misuse by students to complete their school and college assignments, the Indian government has turned that fear on its head.
The government is building an educational tool using ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot backed by Microsoft, that could soon be used by school students to get answers to questions related to their curriculum — in any Indian language, apart from English.
In a video demonstration of the tool accessed by Moneycontrol, a student posted a voice message of a math query in Hindi on a WhatsApp chat. The voice note first got converted into a text in Devanagari script and then the answer appeared on the chat itself. All of it happened in a matter of seconds.
In another instance, the student took a screenshot of a math question from his textbook, sent it to a WhatsApp chatbot and received the solution in no time.
Multiple tech platforms have been leveraged to build the first version of this tool – the government’s Bhashini platform which translates between languages using AI, the Diksha platform that digitises school curriculum, messaging platform WhatsApp, and edtech platform Doubtnut.
This is how it is intended to work: first, a student will post a question in a vernacular language on the WhatsApp chatbot. This will get translated into English in the back-end by Bhashini. This question will then be processed by ChatGPT, which will be trained on DIKSHA and Doubtnut’s repository of lessons.
The answer that ChatGPT comes up with will again be translated back into the language of the question by Bhashini and posted as a reply on the student’s WhatsApp query.
When asked about the timeline for the tool’s launch, a senior government official said that it will be launched ‘soon’ after the testing phase is completed.
“We are expecting millions of queries by students to come in simultaneously once it is launched. That’s why we have to make sure that nothing breaks and all parts of the tech work smoothly in tandem when it is launched widely,” he said.
Search engine for government schemes
Another tool that the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) is using ChatGPT to build will effectively turn WhatsApp into a search engine for government schemes.
When a person posts a voice note on the WhatsApp chat regarding any scheme, the tool returns a response with all details of the scheme, such as when it was started, the objectives of the scheme, eligibility for applying, documents required, etc.
“We did an API integration of WhatsApp APIs with Bhashini APIs and ChatGPT APIs. So, that allows you to ask any question on our WhatsApp interface in any language of your choice and get the answer. You can also ask something with an audio and get the reply in audio,” said the official.
“What it does is that it ensures digital inclusion for everyone. Many people are not able to type in their questions. Now, they can just post a query through an audio note in their own language and get an answer also in the same format,” he explained.
The next phase of this project, on which work has already begun, will include feature phones that don’t have access to WhatsApp. For this leg of the project, the government is testing the integration of ChatGPT and Bhashini with feature phones so that a person can call up a toll-free number, ask a question and get a response.