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Alibaba adds ChatGPT-style AI to meeting assistant app with wider roll-out plans including DingTalk integration

Alibaba Group Holding has started baking its ChatGPT-like artificial intelligence (AI) into a range of service offerings, including meeting assistant Tingwu and Slack-like office collaboration platform DingTalk, as local technology firms ratchet up efforts to promote their own flavours of generative AI.

The Hangzhou-based e-commerce giant, which owns the South China Morning Post, said on Thursday that it integrated its large language model (LLM) Tongyi Qianwen into Tingwu, which records and transcribes meetings. It was originally launched in October 2021, when online conference calls were still the norm in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The AI integration will power an updated version of the meeting assistant, now called Tongyi Tingwu, and is currently available for public beta testing. The upgrade allows for more complex tasks such as summarising audio and video content with higher accuracy, according to the company's announcement.

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"Tongyi Tingwu aims to use the large language model to facilitate faster and better comprehension and easier sharing of multimedia content," Zhou Jingren, chief technology officer at Alibaba Cloud, said in the statement.

DingTalk will also soon get similar AI functionality, as the company looks to integrate the capabilities of Tongyi Tingwu into a wider range of productivity-focused products and services.

DingTalk president Ye Jun first showcased how the collaboration platform might use this technology in mid-April, during a live demo of the app composing articles based on simple prompts. It can also summarise group discussions.

Alibaba's move to leverage AI comes hot on the heels of a vow made by Baidu to do the same last week.

In a speech last Friday at the AI-focused Zhongguancun Forum, an annual technology conference held in Beijing, Baidu CEO Robin Li said AI was poised to change the world, and the company will use the technology to rework all of its products.

"It's not about integrating or accessing. It's reworking and restructuring," Li said in his keynote.

The refreshed Alibaba-Baidu rivalry epitomises the current AI frenzy in China, as domestic tech firms, from internet giants to AI powerhouses such as SenseTime and iFlyTek, all tout their strengths in the field after the launch last fall of Microsoft-backed OpenAI's ChatGPT prompted a flurry of similar chatbot releases.

This article originally appeared in the South China Morning Post (SCMP), the most authoritative voice reporting on China and Asia for more than a century. For more SCMP stories, please explore the SCMP app or visit the SCMP's Facebook and Twitter pages. Copyright © 2023 South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.

Copyright (c) 2023. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.