Jack Ma’s Alibaba has announced that it plans to roll out its AI chatbot, Tongyi Qianwen. The company will roll out the chatbot and integrate it with its tech ecosystem in the “near future”.

AI usage continues spreading 

The launch of OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT brought life to a sector thought only to be futuristic. Since then, numerous artificial intelligence applications and platforms have surfaced, with major technology giants like Microsoft showing interest in the industry. 

Now, Alibaba has joined the club and is developing its version of an AI chatbot to compete with the innovations in the market. According to a report by BBC, the company’s version will be named Tongyi Qianwen, which translates to “seeking an answer by asking a thousand questions.”

The report explained that this chatbot is set to be integrated with the company’s vast tech ecosystem, including its workplace messaging app DingTalk and voice assistant smart speaker Tmall Genie. It will also be able to communicate in English and Mandarin at the first stage of launch. 

Additionally, its task scope will include transcribing conversations into written notes, composing emails, and drafting business proposals. However, whether the chatbot can accomplish more creative tasks than ChatGPT already does is still being determined. This concern is a major issue as other big tech companies like Google and China’s Baidu are developing their versions of AI, namely Bard and EernieBot, respectively.

The fast growth of the AI sector has attracted mixed reactions from users, tech innovators, and governments. Some, like Elon Musk, believe that AI could be an existential threat to human life, while others believe it could solve significant issues like harsh work environments. As such, Alibaba’s chatbot must abide by the rules that China’s Cyberspace Administration has set to ensure that it is “Accurate and doesn’t “endanger security.”