ByteDance and Baidu Release AI Chatbots to Public After … –

China has reportedly given regulatory approval for some tech companies to release their artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots to the public.
Among the companies that did so Thursday (Aug. 31) are ByteDance and Baidu, the Financial Times (FT) reported Thursday.
ByteDance, known for its social media platform TikTok, launched its Doubao AI chatbot to the public, the report said. The move demonstrates ByteDance’s commitment to exploring various generative AI products and is expected to help the company improve its models and commercialize the technology.
Baidu also launched its AI chatbot called Ernie to the public, according to the report. Previously, Ernie was only available to a limited pool of users who signed up to test the chatbot. However, with the regulatory approval, anyone with a Chinese phone number can now access the free chatbot.
The launch of these AI chatbots is significant for ByteDance and Baidu as they aim to enhance their business models and increase advertising revenue, per the report. Baidu founder and CEO Robin Li stated that the public rollout of Ernie will allow the company to collect real-world human feedback, which will help improve the chatbot at a faster pace.
Additionally, other Chinese tech companies, such as SenseTime and Zhipu, have also launched their chatbots, further highlighting the growing interest in AI technology in China.
While Beijing’s approval of these AI chatbots is a positive development for Chinese tech companies, they still face competition from U.S. groups, who continue to make strides in AI development, according to the report.
For example, OpenAI unveiled an AI tool Monday (Aug. 28) with a focus on enterprise-grade security and privacy. The tool, ChatGPT Enterprise, also has a range of advanced features that aim to elevate productivity and creativity in the workplace.
Chinese chatbots are said to be about a year behind their U.S. counterparts, and their late public rollout could potentially hinder their progress, FT reported. Additionally, export controls on advanced chips required for training generative AI could limit the computing power available to Chinese tech companies, further impacting their development.
Beijing’s requirement for tech groups to seek approval before launching generative AI services to the public is aimed at controlling the content disseminated by chatbots, per the report. The Cyberspace Administration of China has emphasized that the content should embody core socialist values and must not contain any content that subverts state power or undermines national unity.
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