March 30, 2023

Brighton Journal

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Chinese technology companies are closely watching ChatGPT’s AI skills

  • This month, large tech companies in the US and China rushed to announce that they are working on AI tools similar to ChatGPT.
  • Their ads often made reference to ChatGPT, while revealing few details about what they were working on.
  • Here’s what companies say they’re doing with the technology.

Presentation at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference (WAIC) in Shanghai, China, on Friday, September 2, 2022.

bloomberg | bloomberg | Getty Images

BEIJING – ChatGPT’s business story now revolves around the unknown.

Big tech companies in the United States and China rushed this month to announce their work on similar AI tools. Their advertisements often referred to Microsoft-supported ChatGPT, while revealing few details about what they were working on.

The AI-powered chatbot ChatGPT has taken the tech world by storm in the past few months with its ability to create everything from poems to business strategies in human-like conversation.

However, analysts say the technology is transformative, something that has also been said about blockchain and the metaverse.

Here’s what companies — including those based in China — are doing in this niche area of ​​AI:

US startup OpenAI has raced to outpace competitors by launching ChatGPT in November. According to the New York Times, citing sources. The public interface has soared in popularity for everything from homework help to strategy development.

OpenAI did not respond to a request for comment.

Database software startup PingCap already has a ChatGPT-based product on the market. The company has offices in Beijing and San Mateo, California.

PingCap launched “Chat2Query” for customers outside of China in January that uses a publicly available API from OpenAI.

Liu Song, vice president of PingCap, said the product allows customers to analyze their company’s operating data in seconds — such as the best-selling car models — without having to know a computer programming language. He said Chat2Query is free for customers who process up to 5GB of data.

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“We believe that the revolution may not be in the search for artificial intelligence but in all businesses,” he said in Mandarin, which was translated by CNBC. However, he noted that this data needs to be organized in a standardized manner.

We believe that the revolution may not be in AI research but in all business

Liu Song

PingCap, Vice President

Baidu, the Chinese search engine and tech giant, said on Wednesday that its AI chatbot project will be included in the search first, and will open to the public in March.

The company said earlier that the product is called “Ernie bot” in English or “Wenxin Yiyan” in Chinese.

While not much is known about the Ernie bot’s capabilities — and how it compares to ChatGPT — Baidu-powered video streaming platform iQiyi has announced plans to connect to the bot for search and AI-generated content. Baidu-backed electric car startup Jidu — which hasn’t started delivering cars yet — also said it plans to integrate the Ernie bot.

Alibaba is scheduled to report its quarterly earnings on Thursday evening. The Chinese cloud and e-commerce giant said it was internally testing ChatGPT-style technology, and did not provide a launch timeline. However, Alibaba said that it has been working on related AI technology since 2017.

Chinese e-commerce competitor didn’t have a launch date either, but said “ChatJD” will focus on retail and finance. The company said it will assist with tasks such as creating product summaries on shopping sites and financial analysis.

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Tencent, which runs the ubiquitous Chinese messaging app WeChat, said in a statement that it is continuing research into natural language processing. This is the area of ​​artificial intelligence that ChatGPT is based on.

While ChatGPT this month became a trending topic in China, even for state media, analysts point out that the country’s censorship and data regulations could affect how similar technology develops in the country. Beijing has emphasized building its own technological capabilities.

On Wednesday, Nikkei Asia reported, citing sources, that regulators have notified Tencent and Alibaba subsidiary Ant Group Do not provide access to ChatGPT services on their platforms, either directly or through third parties.

The report did not identify the organizers. China’s cybersecurity regulators Tencent and Ant did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In terms of technical capabilities, however, the United States is only months — not years — ahead of China in this AI search, a Microsoft executive told reporters this month. ChatGPT is not available in China, although Microsoft is operating in the country.

The state-backed Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence is one of three global leaders in AI research, the executive said, along with Google’s DeepMind and Microsoft’s partnership with OpenAI.

Kunlun Tech expects to release an open source Chinese version of ChatGPT, as early as the middle of this year, its president Han Fang told CNBC last week. Open source software is publicly available and allows anyone to see, change or distribute the code.

The company, which generates most of its revenue outside of China, previously said that the specialized Opera web browser plans to integrate ChatGPT into its products, though it’s unclear when or what functionality.

Kunlun Tech is already in the field of AI-generated content, such as music.

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Fang said his commercialization plan is to develop these AI tools first. Creators can then use the tools to create their own work and publish it on platforms intended for public viewing, after which the company can then sell ads, he said. The platforms are expected to launch later this year.

Fang said he was directly inspired by OpenAI’s first release of ChatGPT technology in 2020.

“We all talk about the metaverse, but who’s in it?” He said in Mandarin and was translated by CNBC. “It only changed our news. It didn’t change our lives.”

In contrast, he said, generative AI technology can provide value immediately because it works where users are actually producing and consuming content. Generative AI can also lower production costs, Fang said, allowing animators and speakers of minority languages ​​to easily create their own content.

The implications for jobs and industries remain significant.

The arrival of artificial intelligence such as ChatGPT means that many “cognitive tasks” seem easier to automate than manual labor as they are in factories — a surprise to many economists, said Anton Korinek, a professor in the Department of Economics and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. .

“The impressive and slightly scary part is that the power of these systems has been steadily increasing over the past two years,” he said, adding that he expects more powerful AI technology this year alone.

“It really means that these models will have a revolutionary impact on our economy, on productivity, on labor markets, and ultimately on society in general.”

— CNBC’s Arjun Karpal and Lauren Fenner contributed to this report.