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Tencent claims new AI chat bot skills comparable to ChatGPT

Shanghai (AFP) – Chinese tech giant Tencent on Thursday claimed its new chatbot had some capabilities on par with top United States (US) rival ChatGPT, as the global artificial intelligence (AI) race heats up.

Tencent’s ‘Hunyuan Aide’, which it released to the public on Thursday, follows the similar ERNIE Bot rolled out by fellow Chinese company Baidu last month.

Beijing introduced fresh regulations last month for AI developers, aiming to allow them to stay in the race with the likes of ChatGPT maker OpenAI and Microsoft while tightly controlling information online.

Tencent on Thursday gave a live demonstration of Hunyuan Aide’s capabilities, with the bot introducing itself in response to questions typed by an employee on a laptop, and solving a simple arithmetic problem.

Vice-President Jiang Jie said at the livestreamed summit that the bot outperformed US-based Open AI’s earlier model GPT-3.5 and was on par with GPT-4 in identifying trick questions such as “what is the safe way to speed”.

It even exceeded the latter when answering questions from the Chinese university entrance exam, he said.

AFP was not able to independently verify the claims.

“Compared to the open-source large language models common on the market presently, (our) method effectively reduces the hallucination rate by 30 to 50 per cent,” Jiang said, referring to the false and non-sensical content frequently churned out by AI.

Trained on more than two trillion tokens and equipped with more than 100 billion parameters – units of language and the variables connecting them – from up until July this year, Hunyuan Aide’s data set will be continuously updated, Jiang said.

Hunyuan Aide has “powerful Chinese language writing ability, the ability to make logical inferences in complicated linguistic contexts, and reliable task execution ability”, Tencent, which owns the WeChat super-app, said in a statement on Thursday.

The AI-powered ChatGPT, created by San Francisco company OpenAI, has caused a sensation for its ability to write essays, poems or programming code on demand within seconds, sparking widespread fears of cheating or of professions becoming obsolete.

Chinese tech giants have joined the global rush to develop rival software, with e-commerce stalwarts Alibaba and JD.com also announcing similar projects.

A programme on WeChat allowing users to access a beta version of Hunyuan Aide went online this week, though there was still a waiting list on Thursday to try out the chatbot.

The AI (Artificial Intelligence) smartphone app ChatGPT surrounded by other AI App. PHOTO: AFP