Alibaba Integrates AI Chatbot Into Collaboration App


Tech giant Alibaba integrates ChatGPT-like chatbot Tongyi Qianwen into collaboration tool DingTalk as it seeks to roll out AI across its offerings

Alibaba has integrated its recently introduced ChatGPT-style service into DingTalk, the company’s enterprise collaboration app, pushing ahead with Chinese tech firms’ rush to introduce domestic equivalents to the popular Microsoft-backed generative AI that was introduced last November.

DingTalk president Ye Jun showed a live demonstration of many of the new bot’s capabilities, including summarising previous posts for someone who has joined a group chat, composing articles or generating posts based on user prompts.

The tool can also generate talking points for a group chat, create to-do lists, appointment schedules and emoticons, amongst other features.

Alibaba has said it plans to integrate the Tongyi Qianwen large language model (LLM) across its product line in the coming months.

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Image credit: Alibaba


Ye said users would be able to train their own assistant bot, sending it documents, web pages or knowledge base links from which the bot can automatically generate questions and answers.

The demonstration indicated Tongyi Quianwen – whose name is an allusion to ancient Chinese philosophy and roughly translates as “an answer from a thousand questions” – is still at an early stage of development, according to local media reports.

At one point Ye attempted to use it to generate a sticker from the prompt “futangdaohuo”, a Chinese idiom for going through difficulties that literally translates as treading on hot water and fire.

The app initially generated a picture of a head containing boiling soup, and two more tries continued to produce unsatisfactory results.

‘More training’

Ye said the tool “will get better with more training”.

“This is just a small step in our exploration of work intelligence,” he said. “AI’s transformation of productivity tools has just begun.”

He echoed Google with its Bard chatbot in striking a note of caution and saying that Alibaba is not rushing ahead with the technology but wants to get it right.