GSMA advocates for inclusive AI access amid global disparity: CTO Sinclair

Global telecom industry body GSMA has expressed concerns over a widening  disparity that threatens to exclude smaller markets from the advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) use cases, as most training models are being run by large technology firms, offering only seven foreign languages.

In an exclusive interaction with Mint, Alex Sinclair, GSMA’s chief technology officer, said BharatGPT could be a potential solution. An initiative by Reliance Jio in collaboration with IIT Bombay, the generative AI (Gen AI) platform aims to serve speakers of 14-plus Indian languages, including Hindi. 

Sinclair said that other GSMA members, such as SK Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, and Singtel, are already sharing AI models in their respective languages.

‘AI largely the domain of large tech players and that’s a kind of an oligopoly’

“At the moment, AI is largely the domain of large tech players, such as Google, Microsoft and others, and that’s a kind of an oligopoly. It’s a very small number of very large players, and the danger is that their focus will be mainly on, say, English or Mandarin, and the rest of the world doesn’t get as much attention,” Sinclair said. 

“We’re very concerned about a new gap. We’ve had coverage gaps, usage gap, inclusion gaps… We don’t want an AI gap. We want the benefits of AI for all of our several hundred members over the world, and for all the people, because we don’t want it to be just a largely developed-market thing, and people in other parts of the world, who don’t get access to the tools, are struggling,” he added.

Also Read: Senior execs slow on going with AI-related enterprise changes: TCS study

To address this emerging challenge, GSMA has forged a partnership with the Barcelona Supercomputer Centre, currently engaged in a project focusing on minority or underrepresented languages. This collaboration also involves Veon, which operates in Kazakhstan under the Beeline brand. The announcement of this partnership is scheduled for later this week.

Besides, the industry lobby group, representing 750 telecom service providers globally, has teamed up with IBM to offer courses through the GSMA Advanced initiative. These courses aim to train telecom executives and industry professionals in harnessing the potential of AI and Gen AI, and explore various possibilities and use cases.

“Telcos have been using AI for more than a decade, but it tends to be mainly focused on cost reduction. We genuinely believe that there are real-value opportunities out there as well,” he added.

Sinclair also emphasized the importance of over-the-top (OTT) apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and Meta, which heavily rely on telecom network infrastructure, to contribute a ‘fair share’ of the revenues they generate to support the investments made by telcos into network infrastructure.

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GSMA advocates for inclusive AI access amid global disparity: CTO Sinclair

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