Iflytek, a Chinese state-funded artificial intelligence (AI) company, recently announced the launch of “Spark Model”, an AI system designed to directly compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT.
The launch took place at a technology event in HeiFei called “Spark Desk”, and featured a full demonstration of the new system’s capabilities.
.#ChinaiFLYTEK, a leader in intelligent speech and artificial intelligence (AI), launched its generative language model on Saturday. The company said it will continue to update it to a better version than rival ChatGPT by October. pic.twitter.com/zjSrPbAXKy
— Beijing Daily (@DailyBeijing) May 8, 2023
According to a translation provided by Bing Translate, founder and president of Iflytek, Liu Qingfeng said attendees of the event that the Spark model – also called the “big cognitive model” – represented “the dawn of general artificial intelligence”.
Although there is no scientific consensus on whether artificial general intelligence (also known as artificial general intelligence or AGI) is even possible using current machine learning techniques, the tech mogul billionaire offered a comparison with ChatGPT and a timeline for updates:
“This year, we will continue to upgrade the big model, and on October 10, we will surpass ChatGPT in Chinese (language) and reach the same level as in English.”
Details on the underlying technology that powers Spark Model are scarce at the time of this article’s publication, but the company’s president, Liu Qingfeng, described the AI capabilities as “far ahead of the existing system. which can be measured in China”.
Direct comparisons between ChatGPT and similar models can be difficult to make without side-by-side benchmarking. Not only does OpenAI keep training details and other proprietary information secret, but ChatGPT is also banned in China – a fact that limits OpenAI’s ability to train its models on Chinese languages and culture.
The current ChatGPT ban in China has been describe as potentially suffocating. Especially compared to Hong Kong, a city designated as a special administrative region of the People’s Republic of China, where there is no population-wide ban on using technologies such as ChatGPT and crypto- cash.
Related: China’s Crypto Stance Unchanged by Hong Kong Moves, Executive Says
In Hong Kong and throughout the West, ChatGPT has become increasingly popular among cryptocurrency users and businesses for its ability to generate code and as the underlying technology for the development of advanced trading bots and portfolio analysis.
If the proposed upgrades to the Spark model succeed in giving Iflytek a leg up on OpenAI and ChatGPT, it would not only represent a monumental moment in technology (ChatGPT is widely regarded as one of the generative AI systems most powerful today), but they also did so in a relatively short period of time.
According to Liu Qingfeng, the company’s research arm started working on Spark Model just six months ago, on December 22, 2022. For comparison, OpenAI started development the precursor to its GPT products in 2015. ChatGPT was only launched on November 30, 2022.