Can’t speak Kannada? AI could be your teacher

Harish Garg, a software engineer, has built Kannada Gottu GPT to help users learn everyday conversational Kannada

December 04, 2023 09:30 am | Updated December 06, 2023 11:17 am IST - Bengaluru

A screengrab of Kannada Gottu GPT

A screengrab of Kannada Gottu GPT

Are you someone living in Karnataka and struggling to speak Kannada? Harish Garg, a software engineer, may have a solution for you. 

Mr. Garg has built Kannada Gottu GPT, an AI built on ChaptGPT to help users learn everyday conversational Kannada. 

A Punjabi married to a Kannadiga and currently living in Udupi, Mr. Garg built the tech using the pre-existing tools on ChatGPT. He introduced the software through a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Novemver 22. 

Harish Garg

Harish Garg | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Mr. Garg says that learning Kannada has been a top priority for him ever since he became part of a Kannadiga family. 

He urges people to learn the language not only in respect of the host state but also for their own benefit. 

“Without knowing Kannada, a lot of people from outside the state have been getting into trouble. Misunderstanding or arguments sometimes end up even in physical fights,” he says. 

Kannada Gottu GPT allows the user to quickly look up something to have better conversations. 

According to Mr. Garg, OpenAI, the company which introduced ChaptGPT, uses a technique known as “prompting”, a process which allows the engineers to ask the AI model to build GPTs and create such features. 

“I created a conversation, primed it for people who want to learn Kannada and shared it. Now they get that initial “prompting” by default, for free. I fine-tuned it to behave a certain way so everyone doesn’t have to prompt it,” he explains, adding that that laymen may not be equipped with the information to prompt an AI model, but people with more technical knowledge can prime the conversation for them. 

Mr. Garg who runs a company named Zyrae Inc., has previously created an AI called AIBuddy, a chatbot that can have natural language conversations on WhatsApp. 

While the GPT model has received a lot of positive responses, a significant number of users have also pointed out that one needs ChatGPT Plus, a premium subscription of ChatGPT, to use the AI. ChatGPT Plus subscription is priced at $20 per month in India. 

“An amount of $20 for a student living in Bengaluru is not a small amount. If it was free I would have made good use of it,” says Nitin Kumar, who tried out the GPT through a friend’s subscription. Mr. Kumar, who is from Odisha, is currently doing his studies in Bengaluru. 

Some users also pointed out that the language output by the GPT was quite literary and needed to be more ‘colloquial’ to sound more natural. 

“Money should not be a roadblock for using a piece of technology that would be beneficial for everyone,” says Mr. Garg as he plans to spin out Kannada Gottu GPT as a separate free app with the same functionalities. 

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