As American-based tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon begin to chase the seemingly unstoppable tidal wave of generative AI, Chinese company Alibaba wants in on the action too. The e-commerce giant is reportedly readying to release its own large language model that will compete with Microsoft and Amazon.
Alibaba released a souped-up version of its large language model (LLM) today called Tongyi Qianwen, which is now aptly called Tongyi Qianwen 2.0, according to a report from Reuters Monday. The model also reportedly has eight industry-specific versions that can be used in the entertainment, finance, legal, and healthcare sectors. Tongyi Qianwen 2.0 comes six months after the first version was released in April on the company’s smart speakers—think Amazon Alexa with ChatGPT—and a month after it was open-sourced to the public in September.
Alibaba called Tongyi Qianwen 2.0 a “substantial upgrade from its predecessor” which “demonstrates remarkable capabilities in understanding complex instructions, copywriting, reasoning, memorizing, and preventing hallucinations” in a press release Tuesday. CNBC reports that the tech is Alibaba’s bid to compete with Microsoft and Amazon.
While OpenAI is the company behind the wildly popular ChatGPT LLM chatbot, Microsoft has funnelled billions of dollars into an investment in the venture. That relationship has been off to a bumpy start and may not actually be that lucrative for Microsoft, but it is signaling to the industry that this whole AI thing might be worth investing in. Amazon, meanwhile, has been investing in AI too but is instead throwing money at an OpenAI competitor called Anthropic. Anthropic’s AI named Claude is similar to ChatGPT in that it is a text-based assistant, and Amazon’s investment is offering Anthropic some series of cloud computing power through Amazon Web Services.
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