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Contained in the ChatGPT race in China

Contained in the ChatGPT race in China

Most individuals who’ve experienced ChatGPT firsthand in China have accessed it through VPNs or paid workarounds—for instance, clever entrepreneurs have essentially rented out OpenAI accounts or asked ChatGPT questions on buyers’ behalf, at the worth of a couple of dollars per 20 questions. But much more persons are seeing the outcomes through screenshots and short social videos showing ChatGPT’s answers, each of which have swept Chinese social media this week.

Beyond the allure of the brand new and hard to access, it’s likely been so popular because ChatGPT’s ability to reply questions in Chinese has exceeded the expectations of many individuals (including me!). GPT-3—the previous model of this tech from OpenAI, which was released in 2020 and was also unavailable in China—was not superb at working with Chinese content. And while a couple of Chinese firms developed localized chatbot alternatives to GPT-3, they’ve often been derided by users as predictable, repetitive, and frustratingly off base.

Compared with them, ChatGPT is surprisingly good at forming natural, albeit a bit formal, answers that appear to know traditional pop-cultural references in China. It could actually mimic the writing style of Hu Xijin, former editor in chief of China’s principal propaganda mouthpiece, the Global Times; it knows meme songs in Chinese and might create similar lyrics from scratch; and it might probably write within the emoji-filled variety of influencer posts from the Chinese social media platform Xiaohongshu. 

As in English, the accuracy of ChatGPT’s answers in Chinese often falls apart upon closer examination, and it makes factual mistakes. However the indisputable fact that a chatbot developed by an American company displays this much understanding of latest China has still impressed the general public. I for one was in awe reading lots of the ChatGPT answers:

So it’s not a surprise that Chinese tech firms now desire a slice of the motion. Baidu, the search and AI company that’s arguably best positioned to introduce a ChatGPT alternative, will finish testing its “Ernie Bot” in March and include it in most of its software and hardware products; Alibaba’s research division DAMO Academy is testing an identical tool internally; and 360, a cybersecurity and search company, said it’s going to release a demo “ASAP.” Other tech firms like NetEase, iFlytek, and JD.com also need to use their very own AI chatbots in specific scenarios, like education, e-commerce, and fintech.

The present motion is driven by a combination of pleasure and FOMO. On the one hand, only a few tech products have managed to grab as much public attention as ChatGPT—which has given Chinese firms a rare confidence boost that the general public can still be super excited and hopeful a couple of latest technology. Then again, there’s clearly pressure on these firms to not miss out on this massive trend, or at the least to look as in the event that they haven’t.

That’s also probably why we’re seeing a little bit of … let’s say … irrational corporate motion as well.  The Chinese stock market principally went right into a frenzy searching for any Chinese company whose business shows even a of relation to AI or chatbots; as an illustration, Secoo, a failing luxury e-commerce company with little background in AI, announced on February 6 that it will explore using ChatGPT-like tech in its service; its stock price increased 124.4% that day. Meanwhile, Wang Huiwen, a cofounder of China’s delivery giant Meituan, posted on social media that he’s investing $50 million to start out a ChatGPT-like company; within the time since, he has already secured $230 million more in VC funding, despite the indisputable fact that he’s admitted he doesn’t understand AI technology and remains to be learning.


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