Alibaba rolls out generative AI across apps, Beijing sets new rules

SHANGHAI, April 11 (Reuters) – Alibaba Group Holdings Limited (9988.HK) on Tuesday showed off its generative model of artificial intelligence — its version of the technology that enhances the sense of ChatGPT — and said it will be integrated into all of the company’s applications in the near future. .

The revelations, which came on the heels of the launch of a slew of new AI products by SenseTime (0200.HK) this week, were quickly followed by the government’s publication of draft rules outlining how generative AI services should be run.

In a graphic demonstration, the AI ​​big language model, named Tongyi Qianwen which means “Truth from a Thousand Questions,” drafted invitation letters, planned itineraries, and advised shoppers on what types of makeup to buy.

Tongyi Qianwen will initially be integrated into DingTalk, Alibaba’s workplace messaging application, and can be used to summarize meeting notes, write emails, and draft business proposals. It will also be added to Tmall Genie, Alibaba’s voice assistant.

CEO Daniel Zhang told the live-streamed event that the technology will “make huge changes in the way we produce, the way we work and the way we live our lives.”

He added that AI models such as Tongyi Qianwen are “the big picture of making AI more popular in the future.”

The Chinese internet giant’s cloud unit plans to open Tongyi Qianwen to customers so they can build their own custom large language models and start logging on Friday.

The draft rules published by China’s Cyberspace Administration said the country supports technology innovation and diffusion, but that content created must abide by “fundamental socialist values” as well as laws on data security and protection of personal information.

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She added that those who violate the rules may face fines or a criminal investigation.

The proposed rules, which are open for public comment through May 10, come as governments around the world grapple with how best to regulate generative AI technology, which has sparked much concern about its ethical implications as well as its impact on national security, jobs and education.

Italy last month temporarily banned ChatGPT — the sensation developed by Microsoft-backed OpenAI (MSFT.O) that has sparked a string of companies developing similar products.

Elon Musk and a group of AI experts and industry executives have also called for a six-month pause in developing systems more powerful than OpenAI’s newly launched GPT-4, in an open letter citing potential risks to society.

Charlie Chai, an analyst at 86Research, said Beijing’s new rules will likely slow progress “in exchange for a more orderly and socially responsible deployment of technology.”

He added that they will also put obstacles in front of foreign companies looking to provide AI services in the country, to the benefit of local companies.

China has for years strictly censored the internet, and its tech giants are eager to toe the line, particularly on topics considered sensitive such as Chinese President Xi Jinping and the 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

Baidu’s Ernie’s chatbot (9888.HK) – one of several AI models or chatbots unveiled or provoked by Chinese companies – refused to answer questions about such topics or was told to change the subject when interviewed by Reuters last month. The bot remains open only to trial users for now.

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Alibaba shares rose 1% in Hong Kong trading. Shares in SenseTime, whose new products include an AI chatbot called SenseChat, initially rose but were flat later on.

Additional reporting by Josh Horowitz in Shanghai and Josh Yee in Hong Kong; Editing by Brenda Goh and Edwina Gibbs

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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