Beijing pledges support for local ChatGPT rivals, other AI applications
Beijing is now home to the largest concentration of artificial intelligence (AI) enterprises and talent in China, according to a white paper published on Monday, as local authorities in the metropolis pledged to support enterprises looking to rival the success of ChatGPT creator OpenAI.
One of Asia’s top cities for start-ups, the nation’s capital had 1,048 “core AI companies” as of October last year, making up more than one-third of the total number of such firms in the country, according to the paper released by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Economy and Information Technology on Monday.
That rapid development has attracted more than 40,000 AI talent to the city, which accounted for more than 60 per cent of the country’s total in the field, according to the paper that was unveiled by the bureau during the Beijing Artificial Intelligence Industry Innovation and Development Conference.
At the event, local officials said the city plans to help companies develop large-language models like American start-up OpenAI’s GPT-3, which uses deep learning technology to produce humanlike text for ChatGPT. The city also committed to help build an ecosystem of open-source frameworks and applications for these models, according to a report by Beijing News, which is owned by China’s Communist Party.
In addition, the white paper indicated that Beijing will support AI companies apply their solutions into other areas, including autonomous driving, smart city development and advanced manufacturing.
Beijing, according to the paper, has been among the top Chinese cities in terms of published AI papers and in the number of state-level AI open innovation platforms, with 10 out of 24 headquartered in the nation’s capital.
WuDao 2.0, developed by the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence, is recognised as the world’s largest pre-trained Chinese AI model, with 1.75 trillion parameters to simulate conversational speech, write poems, understand images and even generate recipes. The academy runs a research facility backed by the Beijing municipal government and the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Last month, it was reported that Beijing-based Baidu is planning to roll out its own AI chatbot, called Ernie Bot, in March. It is expected to be initially embedded into Baidu’s main online search services.
Beijing’s initiative reflects how a global AI arms race, ignited by the growing interest in ChatGPT, is poised to expand in spite of calls for caution made by some Chinese tech firms involved in this field.
Since it was launched last November, ChatGPT has piqued the interest of Chinese internet users, who like people elsewhere have shared screenshots of surprising conversations with the AI chatbot on local social media.
ChatGPT, which is currently unavailable in mainland China, has amassed more than 100 million users in just two months, according to a research note by UBS, surpassing a record held by ByteDance-owned short video app TikTok. South China Morning Post
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