Alibaba is reportedly looking for partner companies to test its Tongyi Qianwen AI chatbot, according to Reuters. A formal launch is expected on April 11, when Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group, is scheduled to speak at an Alibaba Cloud event.
Alibaba has not responded to media requests for comment, though a person familiar with the matter told Reuters the chatbot is a large language model (LLM) targeted at business users. Additionally, the retail giant’s cloud computing division posted a teaser message on social media on April 7 that said, “Hello, my name is Tongyi Qianwen, this is our first time meeting, I welcome your feedback.”
The rumored launch has drawn comparisons to ChatGPT, which also is a LLM. Retailers already are experimenting with the vast possibilities the technology unlocks, ranging from efficient development of product descriptions at scale to real-time conversational personalization.
In addition to the reported plans to harness LLM, Alibaba also is leveraging AI to power its content generation . Alibaba’s research institute, DAMO Academy, has developed a number of generative AI models that developers can customize for their use in content creation, ranging from image generation to video production. The algorithm has been fed hundreds of millions of images to train the model, enabling it to search for patterns within the data to capture the relationship between images and words.
“Looking to the future, we now have these exciting new technologies coming to the fore including generative AI…and I think that certainly will also be transformative and create new experiences and new formats of consumption,” said Zhang during a quarterly earnings call in February.