ChatGPT: Chinese apps remove chatbot as global AI race heats up

Hong Kong

Several popular Chinese apps have closed access to ChatGPT, An artificial intelligence chatbot that has taken the world by storm despite major Chinese tech companies seeking to develop their own.

ChatGPT, developed by US research lab OpenAI, is not officially available in China, but several apps on Chinese social media platform WeChat have previously allowed access to the chatbot without using a VPN or a foreign mobile number.

Now those doors seem to be closed. Earlier this week, the ChatGPRobot and AIGC Chat Robot apps said their programs were suspended due to “violation of relevant laws and regulations,” without specifying which laws.

Two other apps, ChatgptAiAi and Chat AI Conversation, said their ChatGPT services went down due to “relevant business and policy changes.”

The Shenlan BL app was even more vague, citing “various reasons” for the outage.

While it’s unclear what caused these closures, there are other signs that China may be messing with ChatGPT. On Monday, state media released a video arguing that the chatbot could be used by US authorities to “spread disinformation and manipulate public opinion”, pointing to his responses about Xinjiang as alleged evidence of bias.

Asked about Xinjiang, ChatGPT describes the Chinese government’s alleged human rights abuses against ethnic minorities in the far western region, including mass detentions and forced labor. Beijing has repeatedly denied these allegations, claiming that the detention camps are “vocational education and training centers” that have since been dismantled.

Other recent state media articles have been critical and skeptical of ChatGPT, with China Daily saying its rise highlights the need to “strict rules“.

Shares of several Chinese tech companies tumbled on Thursday after news spread that WeChat apps had removed ChatGPT services. Shares of Beijing Haitian Ruisheng Science Technology, which develops and manufactures AI data processing products, closed down 8.4%.

Meanwhile, Hanwang Technology and Beijing Deep Glint Technology, developers of AI products and services, closed down 10% and 5.5%, respectively.

ChatGPT burst onto the scene in December and quickly went viral for its ability to provide long, detailed—if sometimes inaccurate—answers to questions and clues.

Since its release, the tool has been used to write articles for at least one news outlet prepared by abstracts of scientific works which deceived some scientists and even passed the graduate law and business exams (albeit low ratings).

It also raised concerns about its unknown long-term effects, such as its effect on education and students’ ability to cheat on assignments.

Despite these concerns, the success of ChatGPT has spurred global AI race.

Microsoft plans to invest billions in the San Francisco-based OpenAI and unveiled its AI-powered chatbot Bing last week, though it made headlines for being darker, sometimes unsettling conversation. Earlier this month, Google announced that it would soon be releasing Bard, its own answer to ChatGPT.

The Chinese government has previously tried to restrict major Western websites and apps such as Google, Facebook and Amazon, resulting in accusations from some from digital protectionism.

In the absence of foreign competition in the domestic market, Chinese tech companies have since grown into major international players, many of which are now shifting their efforts to AI.

At the beginning of February Chinese Hippo Alibaba said he was testing his own ChatGPT-style tool, although he didn’t give details on when it would be launched.

Developed by a team at Fudan University of China. their own version called MOSS, which went viral instantly, causing the platform to crash this week due to too many users.

And on Wednesday tech giant Baidu announced that its artificial intelligence chatbot ERNIE Bot, which is scheduled to be released in March, will be used on various platforms such as a search engine, a voice assistant for smart devices, and even autonomous driving technology.

The implementation will “create a new entry point for the next generation Internet,” Baidu CEO Robin Li said in an earnings report, adding that the company expects “more and more business owners and entrepreneurs to create their own models and applications on the basis of our artificial intelligence.” Cloud.”