iFlytek’s boss bullish on China’s answer to ChatGPT, brighter future for AI

Liu also urged startups engaged in ChatGPT-like innovations and their financial backers to create shareholding structures modeled after OpenAI's newfangled equity arrangement.

ChatGPT, the disruptive chatbot technology coming out of Microsoft’s OpenAI lab, will evolve into an AI assistant for various industries over time, beyond its role of a chatbot, said the chairman of iFlytek (科大讯飞, 002230.SZ), one of China’s four “AI dragons.”

During an interview he conducted on the eve of China’s ongoing “Two Sessions,” Liu Qingfeng said the development of ChatGPT will allow everyone to become more creative with the help of AI.

The “Two Sessions” are the annual convening of the nation’s top legislature and political advisory body in March, where the deputies will gather in Beijing and sit down to review the government work over the previous year and chart out major policies in the year ahead.

Liu, a five-time delegate to National People’s Congress, or the legislature, said he believes that AI and Chinese technology have a bright future, and that the development of AI must be rooted in independent innovations.

Breakthroughs in general-purpose conversational chatbot prototypes, such as ChatGPT, will likely become another moment of “technological leapfrogging” in the history of AI, appreciably increasing its role as an enabler of different industries, said Liu.

Therefore, he called for greater efforts to accelerate work on building China’s cognitive intelligence big model, and allow various industries to enjoy the AI benefits on a homegrown, controllable platform as soon as possible.

“Ultimately, everyone can have his or her AI assistant,” the 50-year-old entrepreneur said.

Liu also offered concrete advice, such as building an innovative system led by pioneering firms and driven by academia and industry practitioners, promoting the demonstrative use of big language models in industries, and realizing their value in education, healthcare, office, human-machine interaction and AIGC, among other application scenarios.

Liu also urged startups engaged in ChatGPT-like innovations and their financial backers to create newfangled shareholding structures modeled after OpenAI’s.

According to him, this will better incentivize tech talent to devote themselves to long-term entrepreneurial endeavors, as part of a drive to create a better entrepreneurial and venture investing environment.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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