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Russia's Sberbank Launches Own Version of ChatGPT

Sberbank office in Moscow. Sergei Kiselev / Moskva News Agency

Russia’s Sberbank on Monday announced that it has developed a rival technology to ChatGPT, the widely popular Microsoft-backed artificial intelligence chatbot released in November. 

Called Gigachat, the Sberbank chatbot is said to excel among its peers — ChatGPT in particular — thanks to its excellent Russian-language comprehension as well as its ability to generate images, a feature that ChatGPT currently lacks. 

Initially, the chatbot will be available to a small community of testers who can sign up to participate in the testing process through a closed Telegram channel. 

Sberbank’s CEO Herman Gref described GigaChat as “a breakthrough for the larger universe of Russian technology.” 

“It’s important to note that GigaChat can be used not only by those who love to experiment with new technologies, but also by students, and even researchers for serious scientific work.”

Gref served as a minister of economic development during Russian President Vladimir Putin's first two terms in power and is currently sanctioned by several Western governments. 

Russia’s largest lender, Sberbank has embraced and invested in emerging technologies in recent years to foster domestic innovation and reduce reliance on foreign markets and enterprises in the technology sector.

However, the invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions have dampened some of these ambitions. 

Last month, Sberbank announced a nearly 80% fall in net profits in 2022, following its exclusion from the SWIFT financial transfer system and withdrawal from the European market after the invasion. 

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