sensetime AI chatbot

SenseTime, a Chinese AI company has unveiled a chatbot named SenseChat amid calls for greater regulatory scrutiny of AI in the country.

The chatbot performed multiple tasks like writing an email when prompted. The company’s CEO and co-founder Xu Li said that SenseChat is based on its big AI model SenseNova.

Over the last month, several Chinese companies have unveiled their AI chatbots. In March, Baidu launched its Ernie chatbot, which received mixed reviews.

Not to be left behind, Alibaba has also invited businesses to test its AI chatbot.

Currently, the chatbot, which is named Tongyi Qianwen and translates to “Truth from a Thousand Questions” is in beta testing mode and is available to select corporate customers.

The landing page for the website does not have many details but describes it as a “productivity assistant and idea generator” which is “dedicated to responding to human commands.”

Hong Kong-listed shares of SenseTime rose 2% today after the news. However, the stock is up over 50% for the year reflecting the euphoria towards AI plays.

Meanwhile, SenseTime’s AI chatbot is coming at a time when there are calls in China to regulate AI.

SenseTime Joins Chinese Tech Peers and Unveils AI Chatbot

The Economic Daily, a Chinese state media outlet called for scrutiny of the sector pointing to “signs of a valuation bubble.”

After the reports, AI-related stocks in China crashed with CloudWalk Technology Co. shedding a fifth of its market capitalization today.

To be sure, there is euphoria toward AI stocks if not an outright bubble. In the US, stock has more than doubled – despite the recent crash following a short seller report.

Microsoft, which has otherwise been on a cost-cutting spree like fellow US tech companies announced a multi-billion dollar investment into OpenAI as the Windows maker strives to win the AI war.

Alphabet also came up with its Bard AI chatbot which had a disappointing debut – leading to a fall of $100 billion in the Google parent’s market cap.

Alibaba Also Sees a Big Opportunity in AI

Alibaba sees a massive opportunity in AI and the group CEO Daniel Zhang heads the Cloud Intelligence Group which houses the group’s AI business.

China, which cracked down its tech sector in 2021 is now warming up to tech companies as well as executives – as is corroborated by Jack Ma’s return to the country after spending nearly a year abroad.

Several US business leaders including Apple CEO Tim Cook have visited China in recent days as the country tries to portray a business-friendly image amid a slowing economy and growing tech war with the US.

Notably, Tesla, whose CEO Elon Musk hasn’t enjoyed the best of relations with China in recent months, has announced a new factory in the country to produce Megapacks, its energy storage product.

Tesla would begin the construction of the plant in the third quarter of this year with production expected to commence in the second quarter of 2024.

The plant would have the capacity to produce 10,000 Megapacks units annually which are equivalent to 40-gigawatt hours of energy storage.

Would China Regulate the Artificial Intelligence Sector?

Incidentally, Musk who was a co-founder of OpenAI has also been critical of AI and termed it “dangerous.”

Musk along with several tech leaders like Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has called for an immediate AI halt.

It remains to be seen whether China scrutinizes the AI sector amid the growing tech war in the US.

That said, the country places a lot of emphasis on financial stability, and in the past President Xi Jinping has lashed out at speculation in real estate – stressing that homes are for living and not speculating.

As for AI, while China might be concerned over the price action of some stocks, it looks highly unlikely that the country would crack down on the sector as it competes with the US for global tech domination.

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