Alibaba is working on an in house generative AI as China gathers pace to join the race

Alibaba is working on an in house generative AI as China gathers pace to join the race(Source – Shutterstock)

Alibaba is working on an in-house generative AI as China gathers pace to join the race

  • Alibaba is said to be developing a ChatGPT-style generative AI tool, which is currently in an internal testing among employees.
  • The e-commerce giant might combine the technology with the group’s communication app DingTalk.
  • The pace of development in China is increasing as more tech companies announce their work on generative AI tools similar to ChatGPT.

Machine learning models have been witnessing gigantic technological leap in the last few months and since text-to-image tools from Stability AI and OpenAI became global sensation, more companies have been showing interest in the generative AI chatbot space. The wave started in the United States (US) after OpenAI’s ChatGPT was launched in December 2022, and ever since that, the technology has been the talk of town. 

This week, Chinese technology companies started indicating that they have begun making their dent in the generative AI space. Frankly, it is commonly known that the relationship between China and the US is such that the tech community in respective nations would always watch each other’s progress closely. Given the recent headlines made by US tech giants regarding ChatGPT over the past two weeks, it is almost inevitable that their Chinese counterparts would do the same.

In fact, shortly after Microsoft and Google announced their intention to up their ante in their search engine game, China’s internet giant Baidu announced the same. Baidu is China’s answer to Google – so the company’s foray into the generative AI space would mean the search engine industry may well be reshaped by AI, in ways perhaps unfathomable a decade ago.

Less than a day later, Jack Ma’s e-commerce giant Alibaba announced that they too are working on a tool similar to ChatGPT. So far, Alibaba is the only e-commerce giant in the world that is making a foray into the generative AI chatbot space, but more is expected to make an entry in the near future. An Alibaba spokesperson confirmed that the company is currently conducting internal tests of its generative AI chatbot.

An e-commerce giant with a generative AI chatbot?

For starters, ChatGPT is designed to assist in tasks ranging from summarizing information to generating some of its own.The generative AI chatbot has received a lot of hype because of its ability to churn out convincingly fluent text, since it is a version of GPT-3, a large language model also developed by OpenAI. Language models are a type of neural network that have been trained on vast amounts of text.

When OpenAI launched GPT-3, its third large language model, it made jaws drop. Its ability to generate human-like text was a big leap forward. Not only that, “GPT-3 can answer questions, summarize documents, generate stories in different styles, translate between English, French, Spanish, and Japanese, and more. Its mimicry is uncanny,” an article by MIT Technology Review reads.

Now, Alibaba revealed the company had been focused on large language models and generative AI since 2017 and is in the middle of internal testing. Alibaba has not disclosed how it plans to utilize the AI, but a local newspaper report said that the company might combine the technology with the group’s communication app DingTalk.

Alibaba also has its fingers in numerous other fields ranging from cloud computing to finance and in a recent blog posting by Alibaba Cloud, Luica Mak, Director of Corporate Affairs, shared that “In the next two to three years, we think the application and services of generative AI will be more inclusive.” Alibaba Group’s research institute, DAMO Academy, has listed generative AI as one of the top 10 tech trends for the coming year.