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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Alibaba to roll out ChatGPT rival

Alibaba to roll out ChatGPT rival

Chinese technology giant Alibaba has announced plans to roll out its own artificial intelligence (AI) ChatGPT-style product called Tongyi Qianwen.
Its cloud computing unit says it will integrate the chatbot across Alibaba's businesses in the "near future" but did not give details on its timeline.

In recent months, technology companies around the world have unveiled their own so-called generative AI chatbots.

Earlier this year, Alibaba revealed it was working on a rival to ChatGPT.

Tongyi Qianwen roughly translates as "seeking an answer by asking a thousand questions", although Alibaba has not given an English version of the name.

"We are at a technological watershed moment driven by generative AI and cloud computing," Alibaba's chairman and chief executive Daniel Zhang said in as Tongyi Qianwen was launched.

The company said Tongyi Qianwen, which is capable of working in English as well as Chinese, will initially be added to DingTalk, Alibaba's workplace messaging app.

It will perform a number of tasks including turning conversations in meetings into written notes, writing emails and drafting business proposals, the company said.

Alibaba said it will also be integrated into Tmall Genie, which is similar to Amazon's Alexa voice assistant smart speaker.

Interest in generative AI has surged since the release of ChatGPT by Microsoft-backed OpenAI in November.

Generative AI is capable of learning from past data to create content indistinguishable from human work.

ChatGPT can answer questions using natural, human-like language and it can also mimic other writing styles, using the internet as it was in 2021 as its database.

Microsoft has spent billions of dollars on the technology, which was added to its search engine Bing in February.

The US software giant also said it will embed a version of ChatGPT in its Office apps, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

Alphabet's Google and Chinese technology group Baidu have also announced their own AI models and released similar chatbots.

On Tuesday, China's cyberspace regulator unveiled draft measures for managing generative AI.

Under the proposed rules, companies would be responsible for the legitimacy of data used to train the technology, the Cyberspace Administration of China said.

The public has until 10 May to give feedback on the proposals.

Last month, a group of high-profile figures in the technology industry called for training of powerful AI systems to be suspended amid fears of a threat to humanity.

Twitter chief executive Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak were among those who signed an open letter warning of potential risks, and said the race to develop AI systems is out of control.

Meanwhile, a recent report by investment bank Goldman Sachs estimated that AI could replace the equivalent of 300 million full-time jobs.

Earlier this month, Italy became the first Western nation to block ChatGPT, with the country's data-protection authority citing privacy concerns.
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