The goal is to improve generative AI performance for non-English environments.
Europe-based start-ups are striving to improve the quality of responses in languages other than English, according to a report in the Financial Times.
The European efforts come as enterprises and personal users worldwide are starting to use AI software developed by US tech companies such as Microsoft-backed OpenAI and Google. The wildly exploding popularity of generative AI chatbots has caused critics to “express concerns about an over-reliance on a powerful, closed technology built by a small group of mostly US participants”, the FT says.
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Solving the problem of “anglophone” AI
So far, the available chatbot options remain stubbornly English-centric. OpenAI’s ChatGPT, for example, supports a wide array of non-English languages, including European languages, Hindi, Farsi and others. Still, testers have found that ChatGPT is not “equally accurate across all languages”. Google’s Bard chatbot currently works only in English.
Now there is a crop of EU-based start-ups determined to remedy those problems. For example, Helsinki-based Silo AI is launching an initiative to build new large language models of the type used by generative AI platforms such as ChatGPT and Bard. Under the project name SiloGen, the company wants to develop these models in European languages, including Swedish, Icelandic, Norwegian and Danish.
Other European efforts include OpenGPT-X and LEAM, which are both German-led initiatives to develop open-source language models. The models of OpenGPT-X are being built in conjunction with German AI start-up Aleph Alpha.
Adopting a “European perspective”
Peter Sarlin, chief executive of Silo AI, told FT: “A European initiative needs to capture knowledge from a European perspective, and we can control what kind of data is being fed into it”.
His company has assembled a team of experienced AI academics from across Europe to build, train and operate Scandinavian-language models. To accomplish this, Silo AI will rely on Europe’s most powerful supercomputer LUMI, located in Finland and modified to run generative AI software.
Marco Trombetti, chief executive of Italian digital translation company Translated, told FT that leading chatbots had been designed to deliver their most optimal results only in English. This, Trombetti said, was “not fair to the rest of the world”.