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We are using generative AI to build core capabilities: MakeMyTrip's Deep Kalra

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Online travel portal MakeMyTrip will build core capabilities using generative artificial intelligence (AI), and will work with leading players in the space to build those tools, the company’s founder and chairman Deep Kalra said on Tuesday at the Times Network India Digital Fest. Kalra was speaking on the topic ‘Immersive Travel Experience – Is Industry Ready?’.

“The new model of AI that we’re all aware of — generative AI. The generative model is heady; and it can summarise the reviews we’re getting intelligently in a very easy-to-understand form to help us build content in a very interesting manner. So, we are working to build those core capabilities, and will be working with the leading players for that,” he said.

Generative AI models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s BARD, which have taken the tech world by storm, are able to answer complex questions, write codes and generate content using large language models that take simple-text inputs for human-like responses.

Also read | Generative AI – an unfolding opportunity and challenge

ET reported earlier that India could expect a “big announcement” on the Indian equivalent of ChatGPT in a few weeks, citing union IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.

Kalra said on Tuesday that technologies such as data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence have been “game changing” in terms of the features that MakeMyTrip has been able to build. “It has to be a win-win for all the stakeholders — on the one hand, our consumers, and on the other our supply partners, which are airline, hotel, bus operators, etc”.

“Airlines want to maximise their yields by selling the last seat on a flight without discounting heavily. Customers are telling us all the time that they want to know how to avoid the fare spikes. No one knows the best time to buy, but through technology we can give tools,” he added, referring to the travel portal’s fare lock and zero cancellation features.

“It is purely possible because of data science…we look at various factors, including how early you are booking, what is the history of fare spikes on a particular route, what is the history of the customer,” Kalra said.

He also spoke about the funding winter in the tech and startup ecosystem, saying that the downcycle is expected to be a short but sharp one.

ET had reported earlier, citing Venture Intelligence data, that venture funding into Indian startups fell by a third to $23.9 billion in 2022, from $35.5 billion in 2021, as the turbulence in the technology sector made investors skittish, severely hitting late-stage fundraising.

“The funding winter that we’re talking about is a reality. I think it will be short but sharp. It is not only because things got overheated; now, we also have the bank crisis — not just in the US but also in Europe — which exacerbates this. But there is no doubt in my mind that the next two ‘techades’ belong to India, and are ours to lose,” Kalra said.

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