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Alibaba opens AI model Tongyi Qianwen to the public

SHANGHAI – Alibaba said on Wednesday it would open its artificial intelligence model Tongyi Qianwen to the public, in a sign it has gained Chinese regulatory approval to mass-market the model.

Authorities in China have recently accelerated efforts to support companies developing AI as the technology increasingly becomes a focus of competition with the United States.

The Alibaba Cloud Intelligence Division said organizations including OPPO, Taobao, DingTalk and Zhejiang University have reached cooperation agreements to train their own large language models or develop language model applications based on Tongyi Qianwen, according to a post published on its WeChat account.

The post also said that in the near future, an open source version of the large language model would become available for free commercial use “by the whole society”.

Earlier this week, Alibaba‘s Cloud division’s chief, former group CEO Daniel Zhang, stepped down from his post. He was replaced by newly installed Alibaba Group CEO, Eddie Wu.

In an internal letter to Alibaba staff on Tuesday, Wu said that AI would be at the centre of Alibaba Group’s future strategy.

“Over the next decade, the most significant change agent will be the disruptions bought about by AI across all sectors,” Wu said in the letter.

“If we don’t keep up with the changes of the AI era, we will be displaced.”

Alibaba first unveiled Tongyi Qianwen in April, saying at the time that the AI large language model, which is similar to ChatGPT, would be integrated into all business applications. – Reuters

Jino Nicolas

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