Alibaba adds ChatGPT-style AI to its meeting assistant

Alibaba Group has started integrating its Chat-GPT-like artificial intelligence (AI) into a range of its services, including meeting assistant Tingwu and Slack-like office collaboration platform DingTalk, as local technology firms ratchet up efforts to promote their own flavors of generative AI. The Hangzhou-based e-commerce firm announced 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 during 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 summarizing audio and video content with higher accuracy.

“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 (CTO) at Alibaba Cloud. 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 summarize group discussions.

Alibaba’s move to leverage AI comes hot on the heels of Baidu announcing it would do the same. 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. The refreshed Alibaba-Baidu rivalry epitomizes 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, the South China Morning Post reports.