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Beeline Kazakhstan and QazCode signed a memorandum with GSMA and the Barcelona Supercomputer Center

Global digital operator VEON Ltd (providing converged communications and online services) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Beeline Kazakhstan , GSMA (a global organization that brings together the mobile ecosystem for discovery, development and innovation) and the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (specializing in high-performance computing and operates MareNostrum – one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe) to explore the possibility of cooperation in the development of artificial intelligence for small language groups.

The parties will focus on developing tools and materials on language models and AI systems for under-resourced languages, including countries in which VEON operates. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the four parties during the M360 Eurasia exhibition. The event, held in Baku on May 15, brought together global communications leaders and policymakers for two days of discussion, debate and networking.

Of the nearly 7,000 languages ​​spoken around the world, only seven are supported in the digital world: English, Spanish, French, Mandarin, Arabic, German and Japanese. Lack of resources in other languages ​​leads to a language gap in AI, which impacts the user experience and increases bias and digital inequality.

Catalan is spoken by 10 million people living in various parts of Spain and other regions of Europe such as Andorra and Alghero. For this reason, the priority of the BSC Language Technologies division is to create digital resources that guarantee the presence of the Catalan language in the digital world, while at the same time making these resources useful for other languages ​​with the same purpose.

Operating in countries where 7% of the world's population lives primarily in under-resourced languages, VEON aims to address the language gap in AI by supporting the use of low-resource languages ​​in AI. Starting with Kazakhstan, where QazCode, a subsidiary of Beeline Kazakhstan, has already launched Kaz-RoBERTA-conversational, a Kazakh language AI module supporting customer service in Beeline Kazakhstan digital applications.

“Artificial intelligence is the next inflection point in the history of technology, and it is in our hands to design and develop it in a way that promotes inclusion for all. The ability to use low-resource languages ​​in the world of AI will enable hundreds of millions of people around the world to overcome existing gaps in artificial intelligence. We are pleased to be the first operator group to collaborate with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and GSMA to explore opportunities to address this challenge,” said Kaan Terzioglu, Group Chief Executive Officer of VEON.

“Beeline Kazakhstan is a leading operator in the field of AI technologies in the markets where VEON operates. Having developed an AI solution in the Kazakh language, Beeline Kazakhstan and QazCode have a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities that arise as Kazakhstan transitions into this era. We are very pleased to partner with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center and GSMA, which will bring international experience to our journey of developing new use cases for AI applications in the Kazakh language,” said Evgeniy Nastradin, Chief Executive Officer of Beeline Kazakhstan.

A key element of the partnership will be the GSMA Foundry innovation accelerator, an initiative that brings together mobile operators and representatives from other technology industries to help participants shape the digital future by rapidly developing real-world solutions to industry challenges.

The collaboration will take place within the framework of the Aina Alliance, a joint project between the Catalan government and GSMA based on the Aina project. This project, promoted and funded by the government, aims to support the presence of small language groups in AI models, allowing speakers of all languages ​​to fully participate in the digital world. VEON was the first pilot project under this partnership. The Aina Alliance now invites other partners, mobile operators and companies to join the joint effort to address the language gap in AI.

“The development of AI also creates gaps between languages. It is important to eliminate them in time. To achieve this, we provide our knowledge and resources by continuing to develop within the Aina Alliance and entering into a strategic agreement with the GSMA. This is another step towards making our expertise in open source AI available to the international community. BSC has released numerous open source datasets and models through the Aina project, becoming a leader in making open source AI resources available,” says Mateo Valero Cortes, Director of BSC-CNS.

“The project with VEON and Beeline Kazakhstan is the first in our exciting journey with BSC. We encourage industry to join us and work together to reduce language barriers in the development and application of AI technologies. This disparity reinforces the AI ​​language gap and related challenges, including isolated innovation and a widening digital divide. The Aina Alliance is committed to ensuring that no language is left behind as the world moves into an increasingly AI-powered future,” added Alex Sinclair, GSMA Chief Technology Officer.

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