03/02/2023, 14.02
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China wants its own ChatGPT, the new frontier of artificial intelligence

China is banning the chatbot developed by US-based OpenAi, which allows humans to chat with an artificial intelligence system. Baidu is ready to roll out its own version, while Alibaba is said to be developing one as well. Censorship and public opinion management remain an issue in China. Taiwan wants to offer its own “democratic" alternative for Chinese-speaking communities.

Beijing (AsiaNews) – China wants its own version of ChatGPT, the chatbot based on generative artificial intelligence developed by OpenAI, a US-based hi-tech company.

Chinese search engine Baidu announced plans to roll out a similar app this month, following instructions from China’s regulators.

A chatbot is a software application capable of generating human-styled answers to complex questions, allowing users to interact with an artificial intelligence system, especially for word processing.

Like Baidu, China’s tech giant Alibaba is developing its own chatbot.

Analysts note that the Communist Party of China wants to block the spread of artificial intelligence tools that cannot be censored or risk undermining its public opinion management regime.

In essence, Chinese authorities fear that the contents of tools such as ChatGPT will arrive on social media, spreading what it deems “disinformation” that favours the interests of a foreign power (i.e. the United States).

Following government crackdown, ChatGPT can only be used in China by getting around the great firewall that regulates domestic Internet censorship in the country

According to Nikkei Asia, the authorities have warned Tencent and Ant Group not to install the US chatbot on their platforms – the former operates the well known messaging site WeChat, while the second is the financial arm of Alibaba.

Critics of Beijing's action argue that the focus on censorship will lead to the development of a warped tool, far from Western standards.

Until now, China was considered at the forefront of artificial intelligence development – the launch of ChatGPT changed everything.

Despite the blow, according to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Chinese research bodies are still ahead in 37 of the world's 44 most advanced technological fields.

A problem for the Chinese chatbot will be recruiting competent personnel.

At present, companies based in China are reportedly trying to lure home Chinese-born developers working for OpenAI and other foreign technology companies. Many of them had left their country enticed by higher salaries.

In a sort of IT war, Taiwan has said that it is set to create its own chatbot. From its perspective, it will offer artificial intelligence systems and services that counter China’s.

In just over two months since its launch, ChatGPT has already gained 100 million users worldwide based on English, while China’s versions will use simplified Chinese.

For Taiwan, the goal is to offer Chinese-speaking communities a democratic alternative to China's censored chatbots.

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