Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) has begun rolling out its ChatGPT-like service for public testing while Baidu has launched a $145 million AI venture fund as the US-China AI war seems to be heating up.
In April, Alibaba invited businesses to test its Tongyi Qianwen Large Language Model (LLM). Back then, the service which literally translates to “Truth from a Thousand Questions” was in beta testing mode and made available to select corporate customers.
Now the company has integrated Tongyi Qianwen into a digital assistant called Tingwu and the Tongyi Tingwu chatbot is now available for public testing.
To begin with, Alibaba would integrate Tongyi Tingwu into DingTalk, its business-focused messaging service.
Alibaba has said that eventually, it would integrate AI into all its products and service – something with fellow Chinese company Baidu also intends to do.
In the press release, Jingren Zhou, CTO of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence said “We live at a time when a growing amount of video and audio content is being consumed in various formats every day. In line with this, Tongyi Tingwu aims to use the large language model to facilitate faster and better comprehension and easier sharing of multimedia content.”
Notably, Alibaba reorganized the company into six different business units earlier this year and the Cloud Intelligence group houses its AI and cloud operations.
Alibaba Starts Rolling Out Its ChatGPT-Like Service
Alibaba has started rolling out the AI chatbot to the public a couple of months after Baidu debuted in Ernie chatbot in March.
Baidu sees AI as a massive opportunity and during the company’s earnings call for the March quarter, its CEO Robin Li said, “We believe the emergence of generative AI and large language model presents a transformative potential of AI in various industries, to help people and organizations to achieve more and to place a positive impact on society.”
While online search accounts for the bulk of Baidu’s current revenues, the company – like Google – sees AI as the next big earnings driver.
Smarting from the growing popularity of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, Google has also launched its Bard chatbot.
Billionaire investor and fund manager Bill Ackman bought over 10 million shares of Google’s parent company Alphabet in the first quarter of 2023 – an apparent bet on its AI forays.
Baidu Launched $145 Million AI Venture Fund
Yesterday, Baidu launched its $145 million AI venture fund to back startup generative AI companies. ChatGPT’s parent company OpenAI also has a similar fund.
Chinese search giant Baidu Inc will set up a venture capital fund of 1 billion yuan ($145 million) to back start-ups focused on content generated by artificial intelligence applications, it said. | @Reuters https://t.co/Xk78zL6ArE
— Inquirer (@inquirerdotnet) May 31, 2023
Meanwhile, there has been an AI war brewing between the US and China as tech companies from both countries are striving to capitalize on the AI euphoria,
China has banned ChatGPT which is in line with the country’s long-followed practice of shunning foreign tech companies for local alternatives.
China has domestic alternatives for platforms like Google and Facebook as the country is quite sensitive about the safety of its citizens’ data – which was reflected in the forced delisting of Didi from the US stock markets.
All said the AI war between China and US might only escalate in the coming months as Chinese tech companies expand their AI offerings.
Incidentally, earlier this month, the US Department of Justice charged Weibao Wang, a former Apple engineer and current executive at Jidu, an electric vehicle startup owned by Baidu with stealing Apple’s trade secrets.
As the tech war escalates between the world’s two largest economies, it won’t be surprising to come across such stories about AI also.
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