OpenAI’s New Media Manager Tool and Its Impact on Indian AI Startups

In a groundbreaking move, OpenAI has announced plans to unveil a new tool by 2025, dubbed Media Manager. This innovative tool is designed to empower creators and content owners, enabling them to dictate how their work is utilized for AI model training and machine learning research, thereby honoring their preferences.

However, this development may not be entirely beneficial for everyone in the Indian AI ecosystem. While OpenAI stands to gain significantly, especially in terms of acquiring Indic data for developing GPT models, the burgeoning Indian AI startups like SML Hanooman and Ola Krutrim may find themselves at a disadvantage. These nascent companies are already struggling to draw users to their platforms amidst fierce competition from established players like ChatGPT, which boasts over 180 million members worldwide, with India being its second-largest market.

Ola Krutrim and Hanooman have been fervently playing the Indian “culture” card to carve a niche for themselves, but the playing field may soon change with OpenAI’s strategic moves, including the appointment of Pragya Misra to spearhead government relations in India.

Bhavish Aggarwal, CEO of Ola Krutrim, recently made headlines with his defiant stance against OpenAI’s advancements, asserting India’s capability to develop indigenous language models. Despite Krutrim’s current lag behind ChatGPT, Aggarwal’s ambitious vision and controversial remarks highlight a growing sentiment for self-reliance in the Indian AI sector.

Yet, the irony doesn’t escape many that Krutrim’s founding concept closely mirrors OpenAI’s, with allegations that its training might have leveraged GPT-4 outputs. Currently, Krutrim utilizes Databricks services, hinting at a complex interdependency within the global AI development ecosystem, despite the push for localization.

Collecting and curating Indic data remains a formidable challenge, as highlighted by Vivek Raghavan of Sarvam AI. The scarcity of high-quality, original data in Indian languages is a significant barrier, exacerbated by the limited availability of text in languages other than Hindi. This scenario underlines the strategic importance of initiatives like AI4Bharat’s Indic language datasets and Tech Mahindra’s Project Indus, which aims to amass a vast corpus of Hindi data.

OpenAI’s Media Manager tool could potentially shift the competitive landscape, making it crucial for Indian AI startups to refocus from ego-centric models to customer-centric solutions. With OpenAI poised to expand its footprint in India, local startups may need to adopt more collaborative and innovative approaches to thrive.

Nandan Nilekani, India’s CTO, echoes this sentiment, urging a shift towards AI applications that solve real-world problems for Indians rather than competing on language models. His perspective underscores a broader truth: success in AI for India hinges on meeting the needs of its diverse population, rather than winning a technological arms race.

As the AI landscape continues to evolve, the interplay between global giants like OpenAI and Indian startups will undoubtedly shape the future of technology in India. Whether Ola Krutrim and its peers can navigate this challenging environment remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: innovation and adaptability will be key to their survival and growth.

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