Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank, has launched Giga Chat, an AI chatbot technology to rival ChatGPT. At present, Giga Chat is in invite-only testing mode, but it’s expected to be a major player in the AI chatbot market soon. Testers are able to sign up through a closed Telegram channel.
ChatGPT’s launch by Microsoft-backed startup OpenAI in 2022 has triggered a race in the tech industry to develop more accessible and intuitive AI technology. The move by Sberbank into AI technology is part of a broader effort by the bank to reduce Russia’s reliance on foreign technology.
Introducing Giga Chat
The superior ability of GigaChat to communicate more intelligently in the Russian language sets it apart from its competitors. For a country like Russia, this is particularly important, as a significant portion of the population prefers to communicate in Russian. Giga Chat’s multimodal features give it a better advantage over ChatGPT, which is presently restricted to text.
Sberbank hopes that GigaChat will help drive innovation and transform how people work and conduct business in Russia. With Baidu’s Ernie and Alibaba’s Tongo Qiawen, China has entered the AI chatbot race, as the Chinese can communicate in the country’s native dialect. ChatGPT isn’t available for use in Russia. Similarly, countries like Iran, North Korea, and China don’t have access to ChatGPT.
ChatGPT’s success has led to a mad dash to the market for new AI products among tech giants and startups. Billions have been spent by Microsoft on OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, and it is placing a large bet that AI will define the next generation of big tech.
Microsoft’s choice pushed Google to develop its own AI chatbot, Bard. A partnership has been announced by Amazon with Hugging Face, an AI startup creating a ChatGPT rival. Moves have been made by Apple to enter the AI race among US giants. Meta on Facebook is capable of combating ChatGPT but has refrained from launching it.
Giga Chat’s Core Technology
Giga Chat at Sberbank is based on the neural network ensemble model called NeONKA(Neural Omnimodal Network with Knowledge-Awareness), which includes several neural network models along with supervised fine-tuning and reinforcement learning with human feedback. The architecture of Giga Chat can answer questions, maintain dialogue, write program code, and create texts and pictures based on descriptions in a single context.
The new neural network at Sberbank is capable of addressing many intellectual tasks, including supporting a conversation, writing texts, and answering fact-based questions. The neural network can create images by incorporating the Kandinsky 2.1 model into the ensemble.
“A breakthrough for the larger universe of Russian technology. It’s important to note that GigaChat can be used not only by those who love to experiment with new technologies, but also by students, and even researchers for serious scientific work.”Herman Gref, Sberbank’s CEO
Sberbank’s plan is to make NeONKA3.5 with 13 billion parameters available in the future. Sberbank’s neural network can solve many intellectual problems. An investment by Sberbank in technology reflects its broader efforts to reduce Russia’s reliance on imports. Sberbank hopes that Giga Chat will help drive innovation and transform how people work and conduct business in Russia. Sberbank is moving forward to become one of Russia’s most influential tech leaders and has been investing in many ventures like autonomous cars, cloud services, e-commerce and more.
Meanwhile, Google has cut down the waiting list for its much-anticipated AI tool, Bard. Google has launched Bard in over 180 countries. Google launched it at its I/O keynote along with a bunch of other tech updates. Recently, Alibaba opened its AI chatbot Tongyi Qianwen only for its business clients through its official WeChat account.