Alibaba releases A.I. tool to create images from text

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Alibaba, the Chinese technology giant, has introduced an innovative artificial intelligence (AI) tool called Tongyi Wanxiang, capable of generating images based on user prompts.

This tool allows users to input prompts in either Chinese or English, and the AI system generates images in various styles, including sketches and 3D cartoons. Initially, the product is being offered to enterprise customers in China for beta testing by Alibaba’s cloud division.

Tongyi Wanxiang is Alibaba’s most recent addition to its generative AI offerings, as major technology players in China and the United States compete in advancing this technology.

Generative AI refers to AI systems that can create content based on provided prompts. Such systems are trained on vast amounts of data to perform this task.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT, for example, has gained significant attention and has prompted a race among tech giants to develop their own competing models.

In the United States, Google launched an AI chatbot named Bard, while in China, Baidu released Ernie Bot and Alibaba introduced Tongyi Qianwen.

Currently, there are already AI text-to-image generation services available, such as OpenAI’s DALL-E and a service called Stable Diffusion, which are widely recognized.

Alibaba’s Chief Technology Officer of Alibaba Cloud Intelligence, Jingren Zhou, stated in a press release that the release of Tongyi Wanxiang will make high-quality generative AI imagery more accessible, promoting the development of innovative AI art and creative expressions in various sectors such as e-commerce, gaming, design, and advertising.

In the development and release of these generative AI products, technology giants are proceeding with caution to avoid regulatory scrutiny.

Companies like Alibaba and Baidu have been careful in their positioning of AI tools. For instance, Alibaba has focused its offerings on enterprise customers due to existing regulations in China regarding generative AI technologies.

In January, Beijing introduced regulations governing “deep synthesis technologies,” referring to images and videos altered by AI. Furthermore, in April, regulators issued draft rules aimed at managing the development of generative AI products by companies.

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