Pune Woman, 53, Teaches Marathi To Microsoft AI Tools, Earns ₹400 An Hour

Pune Woman, 53, Teaches Marathi To Microsoft AI Tools, Earns ₹400 An Hour

At the core of this initiative lies Karya, an organisation born as a Microsoft Research Project in Bengaluru back in 2017

Aakash SinghUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 02:25 PM IST
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Pune Woman, 53, Teaches Marathi To Microsoft AI Tools, Earns ₹400 An Hour | news.microsoft.com

Meet 53-year-old Baby Rajaram Bokale from Pune's Kharadi area, a woman with extraordinary multitasking skills. Alongside managing household chores and running a small business grinding spices and chili peppers, she also imparts Marathi lessons to Microsoft's artificial intelligence (AI) tools. For this unique endeavour, she earns $5 (approximately ₹400) per hour, working for five hours over 11 days, totalling $25 (around ₹2,000).

How does she do it?

At the core of this initiative lies Karya, an organisation born as a Microsoft Research Project in Bengaluru back in 2017. Karya focusses on creating datasets in various Indian languages to train AI models and conduct research, while also generating employment opportunities for Indians, particularly in rural regions.

In 2021, Karya transitioned into an independent entity separate from Microsoft, recognising its potential to produce high-quality language datasets in India's diverse linguistic landscape and uplift rural communities through education and income. Leveraging Microsoft Azure and Azure OpenAI Service, along with Azure AI Cognitive Services, Karya's operations, including the app used by workers to record and transcribe in their native languages, are fully integrated.

Bokale and others like her are compensated by Karya to assist in training AI models across different languages. The process is straightforward: Bokale opens an app on her smartphone and begins reading aloud in Marathi. The stories she narrates are designed to impart practical knowledge in an engaging manner, covering topics such as banking, savings, and avoiding scams and frauds.

"I’m really proud that my voice is getting recorded, and someone is about to learn Marathi thanks to my voice," expressed Bokale, noting that the earnings helped her repair her grinder.

According to Manu Chopra, 27, CEO and co-founder of Karya, there's a significant demand for datasets in underserved languages, coupled with the fact that 78% of rural Indians own smartphones. "We really think that rural India can be an excellent builder of AI, but also an excellent recipient of AI technologies," he emphasised.

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