Alibaba’s Tongyi Qianwen:  Next Generation of Chatbot Powered by Generative AI is Out

May 9, 2023
2 mins read

ChatGPT is a popular AI model that can generate realistic and engaging texts on almost any topic. Alibaba has recently unveiled Tongyi Qianwen, which means “seeking truth by asking a thousand questions,” as its own version of generative AI.

On 5th May, Tongyi Qianwen was launched by Alibaba Cloud through its official WeChat account. Alibaba’s new chatbot service is now open to invite-only beta testing for business clients.

All Alibaba’s business applications with a ChatGPT-style front end are rolled out as Tongyi Qianwen, which is a large language model that is available in beta test for enterprise customers in China and is based on Alibaba’s proprietary AI framework called Tongyi.

Tongyi unified various AI models into Ali Baba’s proprietary pertained AI framework, on which Tongyi Qianwen is based. Tongyi Qianwen, a deep-learning algorithm that can produce human-like responses to queries, is based on generative AI.

As planned by Alibaba, Tongyi Qianwen will eventually be integrated into all of Alibaba’s platforms, from e-commerce to mapping services. Tongyi Qianwen can perform various tasks such as summarizing meeting notes, writing emails, drafting business proposals, telling stories, planning trips, and giving shopping advice.

Tongyi Qianwen’s website offers a productivity assistant and idea generator service that is powered by a large language model (LLM) and is designed to respond to human commands. Despite its brief home page, the chatbot’s terms of service reveal that it was created by Damo Academy, Alibaba’s research institute for developing artificial intelligence (AI) chatbots.

The chatbot’s functions are not explicitly stated on the website, but it is touted as an advanced AI assistant that can help boost productivity and generate ideas. Alibaba’s investment in AI research through Damo Academy underscores the company’s commitment to staying at the forefront of technological innovation, particularly in the field of natural language processing (NLP).

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Tongyi Qianwen is capable of processing Chinese and English  language. As aimed by Alibaba, workplace communications can be made more efficient by integrating Tongyi Qianwen into DingTalk. As users will be able to do, a mini application can be instantly created by photographing a draft idea written on paper through the Ding Talk integration.

As is planned, Tmail Genie will be able to engage in more dynamic and vivid conversations with users through the Tongyi Qianwen integration. Tmail Genie will be let by Tongyi Qianwen develop and tell stories to children, provide  healthy diet recipes, offer travel tips, and recommend background music for a workout.

Tongyi Qianwen will be fine-tuned with customers’ proprietary intelligence in a secure cloud environment, as hoped by Alibaba. As is planned, the user experience can be enhanced by the integration of Tongyi Qianwen into all business applications across Alibaba’s ecosystem in the near future.

Baidu launched ERNIE, a ChatGPT-style service, before the debut of Tongyi Qianwen. Sense Time, one of China’s most prominent AI companies, launched a suite of new services, including a chatbot called Sense Chat.

China’s cyberspace regulator has issued draft guidelines to solicit public feedback on governing the operation of generative AI services. Service providers will be required to verify the real identities of users. According to the rules included in the guidelines, personal information can be protected, and its content regulated.

The critics predict that the trend of generative AI will add fuel to the existing US-China rivalry in emerging technologies. Alibaba’s cloud computing division will allow its clients to use the new technology to build their own customized large-language models.

Tongyi Qianwen will enable its users to transcribe meeting notes, craft business pitches, and tell children’s stories. In order to train, Tongyi Qianwen used vast troves of data to generate compelling responses to the user’s prompts.

Daniel Zhang, Alibaba’s Group CEO, presented the new AI-powered service at a conference in Beijing. Eventually, all of Alibaba’s applications, from enterprise communication, intelligent voice assistance, e-commerce, search, navigation, and entertainment, will have the service added to them. According to Zhang, we are at a technological watershed moment, driven by generative AI and cloud computing.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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