April 19, 2024
China's Chatbot Boom: Firms Speed Up Launches Following New Government Regulations
AI

China’s AI Chatbot Revolution: Companies Rush to Launch After Government Mandates Approval

Baidu, Baichuan Intelligent Technology, SenseTime, and Zhipu AI launched their chatbots within a fortnight of enacting the government’s official AI legislation on August 15. This legislation mandates government approval prior to introducing AI-based products to the mass market.


To attain approval, companies must provide security assessments and evidence of meeting established standards. The 24 guidelines include obligatory labels for artificially generated content and holding service providers responsible for content created on their platforms.


Reports from local Chinese media indicate that 11 more companies have received government endorsement for their AI products, including TikTok and Tencent Holdings. Baidu compared its new chatbot, Ernie Bot, to Microsoft-backed OpenAI’s popular ChatGPT application.


According to a local media report, Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li, expressed that by offering Ernie Bot to hundreds of millions of internet users, the company would gather valuable real-world human feedback. OpenAI’s chatbot is inaccessible in China due to geo-blocking. The government reportedly compelled local social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo to block access to the platforms.


After much anticipation for a publicly accessible AI chatbot like ChatGPT, Baidu announced on social media that their app had claimed the top spot on China’s Apple Store free app rankings within 12 hours of its release. Before the government’s regulations, companies could only carry out limited public tests of their AI products. Under the new rules, companies have expanded their tests, enabling more features.


On August 3, Chinese tech and e-commerce giant Alibaba introduced two open-source AI models to compete with Meta’s Llama 2. These two large language models (LLMs), Qwen-7B and Qwen-7B-Chat, each possess 7 billion parameters and are considered smaller versions of the previously released Tongyi Qiawen in April.
Though not identical to chatbots like Ernie Bot or ChatGPT, these advancements demonstrate China’s intent to rival AI developments emerging from the United States.

Image by freepik

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