LONDON: UAE-based technology investment and development group Astra Tech announced on Wednesday the launch of the Botim Arabic Chat GPT, the first Arabic-language artificial intelligence chatbot in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The AI-powered service, which was developed in partnership with the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, has been integrated into the Botim app, a popular voice and video messaging app with the intent to “revolutionize access to services through conversational commerce.”
Abdallah Abu Sheikh, co-founder and chief executive officer of Astra Tech, said: “Botim’s Arabic Chat GPT marks another significant step toward simplifying people’s daily lives and transforming the global tech industry while also enhancing the capabilities of our upcoming Ultra app.
“We are very excited to leverage the Arabic language modeling experts at MBZUAI to pilot the service on Botim for our select users as we train the model.”
Astra Tech chiefs said the new system would cater to all of Botim’s services by scouting for information in real time and providing users with links and sources.
The pilot test allows users to use generative AI for services such as international money transfers, bill payments, government services, and weather checks.
At a later stage, the tech firm aims to add new features including stores and healthcare services to the app.
Initially, the chatbot will be available to a select group of Botim’s 100 million-plus user base before expanding to more users.
Sultan Al-Hajji, vice president of public affairs and alumni relations at MBZUAI, said: “This new collaboration with Astra Tech underscores how the university’s research and subject matter expertise in natural language processing is being deployed to address challenges and enable enhanced services for industries and their customers.”
The global AI market has experienced a boom in recent months with many pilot projects being integrated into larger services or made available to the public.
According to global consultancy firm PwC, AI is estimated to contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by the end of the decade, with the MENA region accounting for around 2 percent of overall benefits.
Abu Sheikh noted that the sector in the region was expected to grow at an annual rate of 20 percent by 2030, with the UAE leading with an average contribution of 35 percent.
Astra Tech acquired Botim in January as part of its larger project to develop the region’s first ultra-platform, an all-in-one solution for sellers and consumers around the world.