May 29, 2023

“China is very good at extending existing inventions, but not very good at making breakthroughs,” said Yasheng Huang, a management professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Upcoming book on innovation in ChinaHe believes that the country lacks the diversity of ideas and free expression of ideas that would foster innovative thinking.

Last month, Chinese authorities suspended ChatYuan, one of the country’s first chatbots, for providing answers including challenge The Communist Party’s official position on Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Xu Chenggang, a senior research scholar at Stanford’s China Center for Economics and Institutions, offered a harsher assessment of Beijing’s efforts to build better robots.

Chinese chatbots “can’t reach the level of ChatGPT,” Mr. Xu said, because China’s strict censorship regime could undermine data quality and hinder the development of chatbots.

“If you set up an algorithm with constraints everywhere, of course it’s going to be limited in its capabilities,” he said.

Chinese officials are also working to temper expectations. Earlier this month, China’s science and technology minister Wang Zhigang used a football metaphor to illustrate how much work remains to be done to compete with ChatGPT.

“Playing football involves dribbling and shooting, but it’s not easy to be as good as Messi,” he said, referring to soccer superstar Lionel Messi. “Over the years, our country has also done a lot of layout and research in this area, and achieved some results. However, it may take some time to achieve the same performance level as OpenAI,” he added.

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