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Alibaba launches AI model ‘Tongyi Qianwen’ as ChatGPT rival for enterprise testing

Alibaba has launched its long-awaited ChatGPT rival, “Tongyi Qianwen,” for enterprise testing. The launch is not open to the general public but is restricted to a few eligible enterprises. Currently, the company is extending invitations to enterprise users only to participate in experience testing. Interested users can submit their applications via the official website, and those who meet the eligibility criteria will be considered for participation.

“Tongyi Qianwen” is a highly advanced AI model designed to understand and respond to human commands. It serves as an efficient assistant and can even generate ideas. The model is being developed by Alibaba’s advanced research institute, the DAMO Academy. For many years, Alibaba DAMO Academy has been involved in cutting-edge scientific research fields such as natural language processing (NLP) and has been developing large models since 2019.

China’s technology giant Alibaba has unveiled a generative artificial intelligence model – its version of the technology that powers chatbot sensation ChatGPT – and said it would be integrated into all of the company’s apps in the near future.

The unveiling on Tuesday was swiftly followed by the Chinese government’s publication of draft rules outlining how generative artificial intelligence services should be managed.

"We are at a technological watershed moment driven by generative AI and cloud computing, and businesses across all sectors have started to embrace intelligence transformation to stay ahead of the game," said Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang.

The model will be integrated into DingTalk, Alibaba's workplace messaging app and Tmall Genie, its voice assistant. Tongyi Qianwen can draft business proposals and emails and "will bring about big changes to the way we produce, the way we work, and the way we live our lives," according to Zhang.

Last Friday, Alibaba published a teaser to the new chatbot, with a post on social media reading: "Hello, my name is Tongyi Qianwen, this is our first time meeting, I welcome your feedback."

Alibaba Cloud plans to open Tongyi Qianwen to customization from users, so that they can build their own large language models.

Companies are expected to ensure that the data used to train the AI models do not discriminate against people on the basis of race, gender, and ethnicity, and they would also be responsible for the legitimacy of the data used to train the algorithm, the new rules noted.

The AI Chatbots developed by Chinese companies should not generate false information, the regulator noted.

While Alibaba is currently looking at splitting itself up, it could opt to keep tight control of the AI business. Zhang personally runs the cloud-computing unit, which houses Alibaba’s AI offerings. The Chinese government is also keeping a strict eye on the technology, having restricted access to Western-made chatbots such as ChatGPT, developed by OpenAI and backed by Microsoft MSFT–0.76% (MSFT).


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