Home / Companies / Start-ups /  Flipkart explores ChatGPT use cases, drones for delivery

NEW DELHI : Walmart-owned online retailer Flipkart is looking to firm up its tech stack by incorporating advanced artificial intelligence (AI) platforms such as ChatGPT. The company, which has used AI to tackle logistics issues and fraud in the past, is experimenting with natural language generation (NLG) -based chatbots, similar to Open AI’s ChatGPT, Jeyandran Venugopal, Flipkart’s chief product and technology officer said.

“We are very, very interested in exploring use cases of ChatGPT and are looking at large NLG models. In fact, we have something cooking and we are working on it in the backend," Venugopal said an interview.

However, he expressed concerns over its accuracy levels and susceptibility to give incorrect information.

“So, if you’re just doing general chit-chat and you get incorrect information on which you’re not basing any monetary decisions like buying a product, it is fine. Even OpenAI has warned against using it for anything really critical as there are a lot of issues to be bugged out," he added. OpenAI founder Sam Altman warned on Twitter last month that ChatGPT cannot be relied upon for “anything important."

To be sure, while incorporating ChatGPT in its efforts might be new, Flipkart is no stranger to language models. Venugopal said the company has been more focused on traditional natural language processing (NLP) and Google’s Bidirectional Encoder Representations, or Bert, so far.

NLP refers to algorithms capable of understanding the meaning of a body of text, while NLG consists of algorithms that can generate human language text.

Venugopal said this year, Flipkart will continue to invest in improving the personalization experience of shoppers and coverage of technologies such as automated machine translation, and voice and image search. The company had made several design changes in its shopping app last year to simplify navigation and added live commerce, image search, and a new section for premium brands.

“We saw a spectacular level of adoption during the festive season sales with millions of searches using image search as a discovery mechanism," he added.Flipkart is also looking to continue investing in augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and camera-based features for discovery, said Venugopal. Last year, the e-commerce firm also announced a metaverse platform called Flipverse as an experiment, adding that metaverse technologies will take a while to mature.

Venugopal said Flipkart ran pilots with the Telangana government last year to use drones to deliver essential life-saving medicines, plasma, blood and vaccines. The company has now moved on to pilots in middle-mile delivery (delivery of goods from warehouse to distribution centres) for smaller bag-sized shipments.

“But doing last-mile deliveries (deliveries to actual consumers) using drones will take more time as the technology needs to mature a lot more," said Venugopal.

Abhijit Ahaskar
Abhijit writes on tech policy, gaming, security, AI, robotics, electronics and startups. He has been in the media industry for over 12 years.
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