Alibaba joins the rush to build a ChatGPT rival

 

If it seems like everyone is rushing to develop an alternative to ChatGPT, you’re not wrong. Chinese online commerce heavyweight Alibaba has confirmed to CNBC that it’s working on its equivalent to OpenAI’s hit AI chatbot. The company isn’t detailing features or offering a release schedule, but says it has been developing generative AI since 2017 and is in the middle of internal testing.

The reveal comes as multiple tech giants have introduced rivals to or spinoffs of ChatGPT this week. Google unveiled Bard, while China’s Baidu said it was testing “Ernie Bot.” Microsoft, meanwhile, launched a redesigned Bing that uses a “much more powerful” language model built with OpenAI’s help. The text-generating AI is considered particularly useful for search, where it can provide detailed responses to very specific questions.

Alibaba hasn’t said how it would put the AI to work. However, the company is a powerhouse in online shopping and has its fingers in numerous other fields ranging from cloud computing through to finance. A counterpart to ChatGPT could be useful in many of these categories, and might help Alibaba challenge Baidu and other Chinese firms hoping to wield AI as a competitive advantage.

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