Alibaba, the Chinese technology giant, has recently unveiled its latest innovation in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) – Tongyi Wanxiang. This AI tool is capable of generating images from text prompts, providing users with a range of styles including sketches and 3D cartoons. The cloud division of Alibaba has made Tongyi Wanxiang available for beta testing exclusively to enterprise customers in China.
This move by Alibaba is part of a larger race among technology giants in both China and the United States to advance generative AI technology. Generative AI refers to a type of AI that can generate content based on given prompts. It is trained on extensive datasets to achieve this capability. OpenAI‘s ChatGPT, for instance, is a well-known example of generative AI that has spurred major tech players to develop their own competing systems.
In the United States, Google has already launched its AI chatbot named Bard, while in China, Baidu has introduced Ernie Bot and Alibaba has introduced Tongyi Qianwen. These AI-powered tools aim to generate images from text, just like Tongyi Wanxiang.
Currently, there are existing AI text-to-image generation services available, such as OpenAI’s DALL-E and Stable Diffusion. However, with the release of Tongyi Wanxiang, Alibaba aims to make high-quality generative AI imagery more accessible. This will foster the development of innovative AI art and creative expressions across various sectors, including e-commerce, gaming, design, and advertising.
It is worth noting that technology giants are proceeding with caution when releasing generative AI products, as they want to avoid any conflicts with regulators. Companies like Alibaba and Baidu have taken specific approaches to position their AI tools. Alibaba, for instance, has focused its offerings on enterprise customers due to the existing regulations implemented by Chinese authorities. In January, Beijing introduced pioneering regulations that govern “deep synthesis technologies,” referring to images and videos altered by AI. Subsequently, in April, regulators issued draft rules aimed at managing the development of generative AI products by companies.
Alibaba’s CTO of Cloud Intelligence, Jingren Zhou, expressed his excitement about the release of Tongyi Wanxiang and highlighted its potential to facilitate the development of innovative AI art and creative expressions in various sectors. While regulation remains a key consideration, Alibaba is determined to bring generative AI technology to businesses in a responsible and compliant manner.
As the race to advance generative AI technology continues, it is clear that companies like Alibaba are actively working to push the boundaries of innovation while maintaining a mindful approach to regulatory compliance. With the introduction of Tongyi Wanxiang, Alibaba is set to make a significant impact on the development of generative AI imagery, further solidifying its position as a leader in the technology industry.