As Alibaba unveils ChatGPT rival, China flags new AI rules

Alibaba’s ChatGPT rival will be integrated into the company’s apps; Beijing says any new technology must abide by new rules.

Chinese tech giant Alibaba has unveiled a generative artificial intelligence model — the version of the technology powering 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 quickly followed by the Chinese government’s release of draft rules outlining how generative artificial intelligence services should be managed.

In a demonstration, the AI ​​language model dubbed Tongyi Qianwen – meaning “truth out of a thousand questions” – drafted invitation letters, planned itineraries and advised shoppers on types of makeup to purchase.

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

The technology “will revolutionize the way we produce, work and live,” CEO Daniel Zhang told the live-streamed event.

AI models like Tongyi Qianwen are “the big picture to make AI more popular in the future,” he added.

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

‘Socialist core values’

Meanwhile, draft rules published by China’s Cyberspace Administration said the country supported innovation and popularization of the technology, but that the content generated had to comply with “core socialist values”, as well as data security and personal information protection laws.

Those who break the rules could face fines or criminal investigation, it added.

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

Italy last month temporarily banned ChatGPT – the chatbot sensation developed by Microsoft-backed OpenAI that has led to the run by 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 recently launched GPT-4, citing potential risks to human societies.

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

The guidelines will also create obstacles for foreign companies looking to provide AI services in the country, benefiting domestic companies, Chai added.

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