Why chatbots like ChatGPT weren’t invented in China

Why chatbots like ChatGPT weren’t invented in China

Why chatbots like ChatGPT weren't invented in China

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Along the way, Beijing has tamed the industry’s ambition and blunted its innovative edge.


But tech companies and investors are also to blame for falling behind their Silicon Valley counterparts. Even before the government started imposing a stronger hand on them, China’s tech leaders were focused on making money and reluctant to spend on research projects that weren’t likely to generate revenue at all. short term. After the onslaught of government in recent years, executives are even less inclined to invest in long-term businesses.

In 2021, the United States led the world in total private investment in artificial intelligence and the number of newly funded AI companies, which were three and two times that of China, according to the 2022 annual report of the Stanford University AI Index.

But the government has been AI’s biggest obstacle – its obsession with censorship perhaps its heaviest club. The availability of a wide range of data is crucial for developing technology like ChatGPT, and this is increasingly difficult to find in a censored online environment.

Today, jokes are circulating that capture the dark mood of tech people. A popular: “We must teach machines not only to speak, but also not to speak.”

Beijing has punished companies, sometimes harshly, for enforcing its censorship protocols. Duolingo, whose seemingly uncontroversial business is teaching people new languages, has been pulled from Chinese app stores for nearly a year to “improve its content regulation”, according to Chinese media.

“Many of us in the internet industry face two problems when making a product: either our products don’t involve speech, or they have to go through a lot of censorship,” said Hao Peiqiang, a former entrepreneur and programmer from the north of the country. Tianjin city. “Big companies can afford it, but small companies can’t,” he said. “If small businesses can’t do that, it stifles innovation.”

OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT with the help of Microsoft money, has not made the tool available in China. Users in mainland China must use virtual private networks, or VPNs, to access it.


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