Alibaba’s fintech affiliate Ant Group unveiled several new finance-specific AI services at the Inclusion Conference in Shanghai on September 8.
The company’s AI “matrix” consists of a self-developed large language model, an evaluation benchmark called Fin-Eval, and two new applications – Zhixiaobao 2.0 and Zhixiaozhu 1.0. Fin-Eval is already available to the public as of the conference launch on September 8.
Zhixiaobao 2.0 is targeted at the average consumer, acting as a “personal financial assistant” with the market analysis and reasoning capabilities of a professional. Under the new AI regulations that came into effect this month, the application will have to undergo a thorough security assessment before being unleashed to the market.
The other new application, Zhixiaozhu 1.0, is designed to perform business tasks, such as investment analysis and information extraction, for financial professionals. The regulations are less strict on AI services designed for use by institutions and enterprises, so Zhixiaozhu 1.0 should have a faster track to being put to widespread use.
The announcement from Ant Group comes after a raft of generative AI apps were awarded government approval for public release last week, including China’s main ChatGPT rival Ernie Bot, created by Baidu. Alibaba’s forthcoming Tongyi Qianwen service has still not made it to the market yet, though company representatives say it is currently undergoing the approval process.
China’s tech giants have been racing to produce large language models (like the one that powers OpenAI’s ChatGPT) tailored to industry-specific needs, which come under less government scrutiny than GPT-style chatbots. The space is increasingly crowded as Xi Jinping stresses the need for AI breakthroughs that can help reduce reliance on Western technology.