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On 22nd February 2024, Mr. Zubair Ahmed, Founder & CEO of Hishab was interviewed on ICE Business Times by Dipto Mesbah about “The Power of Language”.

In this interview, he shared about his dream with our national language (Bengali) in Hishab.

Here are some key takeaways from the session.

Q: What inspired you to establish Hishab and focus on Bengali language services?

  • Hishab’s vision was to democratize technology, making it accessible to all, regardless of technical expertise. Focusing on adapting software through natural language processing, we recognized the challenge of data scarcity in Bengali, prompting us to pioneer a speech recognition system. After a significant investment, we successfully launched our Bengali speech recognition system in late 2023, boasting Google’s accuracy by 33-40% (depending on the context). Hishab’s ultimate mission is to bridge the digital divide, providing an inclusive solution for people of all backgrounds to engage in the digital world through spoken language.

Q: What are the components of Hishab’s voice-based services?

  • Hishab is shaping the future of voice interaction in Bengali through three integral components.
    • Speech recognition: This system goes beyond understanding words, capturing nuances and informal speech patterns for real-time comprehension. 
    • Text-to-speech: Our proprietary text-to-speech engine, developed extensively, aims to replicate the natural flow and emotion of a native Bengali speaker, set for release in the next 3 months. 
    • Context awareness: Hishab emphasizes context awareness, driven by a massive language model trained on 1 trillion data tokens, with a groundbreaking generative AI tailored for Bengali expected to launch by the end of June.

Q: Why aren’t more AI companies investing in Bengali Large Language Model (LLM) and what makes Hishab’s approach to LLM unique?

  • Because there’s an enormous challenge in developing a Bengali telephony-driven speech recognition system. For LLM, Bengali is a low-resource language. Investing over BDT 100 crore in data collecting & processing for our LLM, Hishab aims to elevate Bengali as the first digital language, breaking the digital divide. Our patented data retrieval process covers 23 countries. This innovation places Hishab and Bangladesh at the forefront of AI, shaping the future of transformative technology.

Q: How can Hishab succeed in a country with a significant digital divide and low digital literacy?

  • Bangladesh’s digital divide is substantial, with only 6% possessing independent digital literacy and 17% having assisted digital literacy. Recognizing this challenge, Hishab takes a unique approach by bypassing the need for digital literacy altogether. Our voice-based services require only the ability to speak on a phone, making essential services accessible to a broader population. Users can navigate tasks like checking information, paying bills, or booking appointments through simple voice commands.

Q: How does Hishab’s work align with the government’s initiatives to improve Bangladesh’s ICT efforts?

  • Bangladesh’s visions of ‘Digital Bangladesh’ and ‘Smart Bangladesh’ aim at online information accessibility. However, with all of the government websites and limited public awareness, accessing basic services remains challenging. Hishab addresses this issue by leveraging voice technology to bridge the gap. Through a successful pilot with the national non-emergency hotline (333), Hishab allows users to ask questions and receive immediate AI-driven responses 24/7, eliminating the need for human agents. This success sets the stage for a broader government launch by February.

Q: How does Hishab contribute to the digital banking landscape and promote financial inclusion?

  • By removing the necessity for digital literacy through voice-based interaction, Hishab enables everyone to access digital banking services directly from their phones. Additionally, Hishab’s AI can provide a crucial layer of customer support, guiding users through the process and addressing their concerns. This removes a major barrier for many hesitant to adopt mobile financial services, further promoting financial inclusion.

You can check the whole interview from here.

What is the ICE business times? 

ICE Business Times is a monthly business publication in Bangladesh which was established in September 2010. The magazine aims to analyze, interpret and disseminate news of local as well as global financial, commercial and industrial developments to its readers.

About Hishab:

Hishab is a world leader in telephony-based Conversational AI technology. Hishab holds over 20 patents in over 27 countries across the world. Hishab’s team is represented by people from 10 different countries across Europe and Asia. Bangladeshi Engineering meets with Japanese and Indian leadership to bring the world’s MOST innovative solution for digitalization of the mass across the world.

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