China sees the potential of ChatGPT-like technology and will push to integrate artificial intelligence (AI) into Chinese society and the economy, a top Beijing official said on Friday.
“(This technology) has the potential to be applied in many industries and fields,” Chen Jiachang, head of the high-tech department in China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, told a news briefing. He also praised its natural language processing capabilities.
Minister of Science and Technology Wang Zhigang told the same briefing that from an ethics standpoint technologies like ChatGPT should not be limited too much so they can be developed effectively. But he cautioned that all technological achievements have “two sides”.
Their comments come at a time when Chinese tech companies and investors are keeping an eye on how Beijing will regulate ChatGPT-like technology.
China’s regulators have already directed the country’s tech firms to not offer ChatGPT services. Beijing claims the chatbot developed by US-based OpenAI is spreading American government “misinformation”.
Microsoft-backed OpenAI has also kept its viral ChatGPT app off-limits to users in China. Even so, the app is attracting huge interest in the country.
Several Chinese tech giants including Baidu, Tencent Alibaba and JD.com are rushing to integrate AI chatbot technology into their products and launch rival services.
Search engine giant Baidu plans to launch its Ernie Bot — a Chinese rival to ChatGPT — in March.
Ernie Bot has been trained on billions of daily search engine requests and represents the “state of the art” when it comes to Chinese-language AI chatbots, Baidu CEO Robin Li said on Wednesday.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena