Twitter and Alibaba Enter Global AI Race

In the rapidly evolving world of technology, artificial intelligence (AI) has become a focal point for many companies. Twitter and Alibaba have reportedly joined the global AI race by integrating the technology into their businesses. Twitter plans to use AI to “detect & highlight manipulation of public opinion,” while Alibaba is developing its own chatbot assistant called Tongyi Qianwen.

Meanwhile, the co-founders of cryptocurrency exchange Gemini, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, have funded their business with a personal loan of $100 million. The move comes after previous attempts to raise capital from external investors failed. The Winklevoss brothers are funding Gemini amid regulatory scrutiny in the United States, including charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission related to the exchange’s Earn program.

In addition, MetaMask has launched a new feature that allows users to purchase cryptocurrency with fiat currency directly from its Portfolio Dapp. The service is available in over 189 countries and accepts debit and credit cards, PayPal, bank transfers, and instant ACH. MetaMask claims the service follows local regulations and takes the user’s location into account.

The integration of AI into businesses is not without controversy. Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who recently purchased nearly 10,000 graphics processing units (GPUs) for the platform, previously spearheaded a letter calling for the halt of advanced AI development due to societal concerns. However, many companies see the potential benefits of AI and are investing heavily in the technology.

In the cryptocurrency world, the Winklevoss brothers’ loan to Gemini underscores the challenges that exchanges face in a volatile market and amid regulatory scrutiny. However, the loan also highlights the dedication of entrepreneurs to build a successful business in the face of adversity.

Meanwhile, MetaMask’s new feature for purchasing cryptocurrency with fiat currency is a welcome addition for many users who find it challenging to navigate the complex world of cryptocurrency exchanges. The service’s availability in over 189 countries and its acceptance of a wide range of payment methods make it an attractive option for those looking to invest in cryptocurrency.

Finally, Alibaba’s entry into the AI race with its chatbot assistant underscores the company’s commitment to innovation and its vast ecosystem of tech businesses. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, the integration of AI into businesses will likely continue to be a significant trend. However, companies must balance the potential benefits of AI with the societal concerns surrounding the technology.


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Alibaba Enters AI Race with Tongyi Qianwen Chatbot

Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, has announced its own version of a chatbot assistant, called Tongyi Qianwen. The new product is expected to be rolled out in the near future and will be integrated with Alibaba’s vast ecosystem of tech businesses, including the workplace messaging app, DingTalk, and the voice assistant smart speaker, Tmall Genie.

Tongyi Qianwen will be able to communicate in both English and Mandarin, and its initial task scope will include turning conversations into written notes, writing emails, and drafting business proposals. Alibaba’s new product draws comparisons to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which was released in November 2022 and was later integrated into Microsoft’s internet browser, Bing.

Generative AI, like ChatGPT, has made global headlines due to its ability to provide sophisticated information responses in a casual chat-like manner, mimic different writing styles by command and ultimately help users create all kinds of texts, from academic research to movie scripts.

Notably, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and Chinese tech behemoth, Baidu, have also announced their versions of AI chatbots, named Bard and Ernie, respectively.

Alibaba’s entry into the AI race with Tongyi Qianwen is significant as it further underscores the growing trend towards chatbots and AI assistants in the technology industry. However, the main intrigue surrounding Alibaba’s new product is whether Tongyi Qianwen could work on more creative tasks like its American counterpart, ChatGPT.

Moreover, Alibaba’s entry into the AI race also brings attention to the Cyberspace Administration of China’s guidelines for chatbot developers. According to article four of its guidelines, once made open for public feedback on April 11, such content should “reflect the core values of socialism, and must not contain subversion of state power.” The guidelines also require chatbot developers to ensure that AI-generated content is “accurate” and doesn’t “endanger security.”

In conclusion, Alibaba’s new product, Tongyi Qianwen, is another significant step in the AI race and highlights the growing trend towards chatbots and AI assistants in the technology industry. It will be interesting to see how Tongyi Qianwen compares to its American and Chinese counterparts in terms of functionality and creative capabilities. Additionally, as the use of AI and chatbots becomes more widespread, ensuring the accuracy and security of AI-generated content will continue to be an important issue for the technology industry and society as a whole.


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Alibaba’s Ant Group Floats New Digital Bank ANEXT in Singapore

Ant Group, a majority-owned fintech firm of Alibaba Group Holdings has launched ANEXT, a digital bank following a nod from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) earlier this month.


The move comes off as Ant Group’s most ambitious off-shore expansion move after its failed IPO attempts back in 2020.

ANEXT will be focused on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), particularly those focused on local and regional trades. The startup has inked a 2-year partnership with Proxtera, an entity supported by MAS, the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), and the private sector entities to create an open framework for financial institutions.

“We believe it’s time to offer the next generation of financial services that are accessible and effortless for growing businesses. Amid rapid acceleration in the digital economy, business models are changing and pivoting to become digital-first, if not adopting a hybrid model. Financial services have to evolve and be where SMEs are doing their businesses digitally,” said Ms. Toh Su Mei, a banking veteran who will be leading ANEXT as its Chief Executive Officer.

Singapore is opening up for a whole lot of financial innovation and the penetration of Ant Group is a testament to this broad embrace. 

The country’s apex bank had also previously granted digital banking licenses to Sea, a technology firm as well as ride-hailing company Grab, both of whom are expected to float their own banking services in the near term. ANEXT customers will be able to open a consumer account and this access will be enabled in the third quarter of the year.

Ant Group also has a license to serve the corporate and institutional investor group in Singapore as far back as 2020, and the emergence of ANEXT will notably complement its effort across the board. 

Digital banks are growing and while they are proliferating across continents, a number of old players like Nubank are beginning to warm up to cryptocurrencies, a move ANEXT may consider in the next few years.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Alibaba Vice-Chairman Admits He Likes Crypto

Joe Tsai, the Executive Vice-Chairman of Chinese conglomerate Alibaba Group, has expressed his likeness for digital currencies in a tweet in which he professed, “I like crypto.”

While it is not uncommon to find traditional business leaders expressing affirmation for the developing world of cryptocurrencies, Joe’s declaration comes as a shock to the crypto world in part because Alibaba has no clear-cut interest in digital currencies as a company.

The growth in the digital currency ecosystem has seen many institutional investors wade into the growing ecosystem. Business intelligence and software firm MicroStrategy Incorporated is undoubtedly leading the charge in this regard, with the company holding over 122,478 bitcoins in line with its Treasury Reserve Asset (TRA) policy.

American electric vehicle company Tesla Inc also purchased as much as $1.5 billion worth of Bitcoins back in the first quarter of the year, marking a more aggressive push by corporations to take a cut of the pie. From the U.S. to China, it is gradually becoming a primary trend to have companies buy BTC. However, many of these decisions are typically not vested on the primary figurehead of the company.

This has given leverage to company executives to chart their course in terms of BTC acquisitions. A prominent example is Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy Incorporated who has his own personal Bitcoin holdings, different from those of his company. As reported by Blockchain.News, Saylor said he holds 17,732 bitcoin, confirming that he walks the talk that Bitcoin is a less risky asset when compared to gold.

While Joe Tsai did not confirm through his tweet that he holds any digital currency, it will no longer be shocking to the world if he comes out to make this declaration. For now, there is an expectation that more mainstream business leaders and companies will make their way into the BTC ecosystem as digital assets, in general, are flashing stability across the board.

Image source: Shutterstock


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Chinese e-commerce giant drops NFT series on its own blockchain

Chinese online retail giant is diving into the nonfungible token, or NFT, industry by introducing a special NFT series for its annual JD Discovery conference.

Using its proprietary blockchain platform, will be distributing commemorative NFT certificates to attendees of the JDD 2021 event in Beijing, the Chinese news agency Sina Finance reported on Wednesday.

Specifically, will issue one NFT for free to anyone who signs up for the JDD 2021 conference between Monday and Nov. 22 through the WeChat mini program on the event’s official website.

According to the report, the NFT series features a set of seven NFT models, each containing an image used to represent a different forum in the JDD event.

Users who sign up to participate will be also able to get more NFTs by inviting friends to sign up. “Each time one person is successfully invited to sign up, one NFT voucher will be added until all seven NFT models are collected,” the report reads.

The JDD 2021 conference will kick off at the ​China International Exhibition Center on Nov. 22 and will feature panels on artificial intelligence and tech innovation. Launched in 2017, the JDD conference has emerged as a major technology event in China, covering topics like smart cities, the digital financial industry, supply chain innovation and others.

Related: Chinese Communist Party warns of NFT hype bubble

The news comes after some major Chinese companies like retail giant Alibaba and technology conglomerate Tencent announced their own NFT projects as well. Alibaba announced the launch of an NFT marketplace in mid-August, aiming to allow trademark holders to sell tokenized licenses to their intellectual property. Tencent said previously it was planning to release its NFT trading platform.