Alibaba rolls out latest version of its large language model

The logo of the Alibaba office building is seen in the Huangpu District in Shanghai, June 16, 2023.

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Alibaba Cloud said on Thursday it released the latest version of its large language model after more than 90,000 deployments by companies.

Jingren Zhou, chief technology officer of Alibaba Cloud, said in a statement the firm has seen “many creative applications of the models from across the industries,” including consumer electronics and gaming.

“We look forward to collaborating with our customers and developers in seizing the immense
growth opportunities presented by the latest surge in the generative AI development,” said Zhou.

Alibaba Cloud said the latest version of its Tongyi Qianwen model, Qwen2.5, possesses “remarkable advancements in reasoning, code comprehension, and textual understanding compared to its predecessor Qwen2.0.”

Large language models power artificial intelligence applications like OpenAI’s ChatGPT. They are trained on vast amounts of data to generate humanlike responses to user prompts.

The latest Qwen model fares better than OpenAI’s GPT-4 model in language and creation capabilities, but fell short in other categories like knowledge, reasoning and math, according to a March analysis by large language model evaluation platform OpenCompass.

Alibaba released Tongyi Qianwen in April 2023 after ChatGPT took the world by storm following its November 2022 launch. An upgraded version was released in October with improved capabilities in understanding complex instructions, copywriting, reasoning, memorizing, among others.

Alibaba Cloud said more than 2.2 million corporate users have accessed Qwen-powered AI services such as DingTalk – Alibaba’s answer to Slack.

The firm also said it has launched a series of new Qwen models to the open-source community and upgraded Model Studio, its generative AI platform, with new AI development resources.

Other Chinese tech giants such as Baidu and Tencent have released similar chatbots and AI models amid explosive demand for generative AI. Baidu in April said its Ernie bot has exceeded 200 million users after obtaining the green light for public use in August.

Generative AI is accelerating development of humanoid robots in China where these robots could help with factory work or labor.

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