Media reports that a Chinese startup 01.AI achieved unicorn status less than eight months after launch.
This company, which is at an early stage of existence, was founded by a computer scientist and Google/Microsoft veteran Kai-Fu Lee. This startup has reached a landmark stage in its history after it was valued at $1 billion. The impressive result, as noted by the media, was achieved thanks to an open-source artificial intelligence model developed by the mentioned firm. The said configuration of machine intelligence is called Yi-34B.
The media reports that such a high evaluation of the startup is probably evidence that the artificial intelligence model developed by Chinese specialists has surpassed, in terms of at least some quality parameters and, possibly, a particularly important performance indicator, the best open-source AI configurations available on the market.
Experts accept the possibility that the model of advanced technology created by a startup from Asia turned out to be better than Llama 2 from Meta. Kai-Fu Lee says that the large language model developed by the aforementioned American technology giant has become the so-called gold standard and a great contribution to the community of specialists working with open source. He stated that his startup wants to present an alternative to Llama 2 not only for China but also for the whole world.
Yi-34B is currently available for use by developers worldwide in Chinese and English. Large language models are computer algorithms that are trained on huge amounts of data and can create text materials, images, and code, carrying out the process of thinking within the paradigm inherent in the human mind.
Experts note that Chinese technology companies are as enthusiastic about the prospects of activities in the area of developing digital intelligence technologies and products based on it as American firms. Baidu said that its artificial intelligence model called Ernie can compete fully with similar proposals from OpenAI, which created the world’s most popular AI-based chatbot called ChatGPT. At the same time, Alibaba has invested in several firms operating in the machine intelligence industry. One of the recipients of this funding was 01. AI.
Currently, according to experts, there is no reason to say that Chinese and American companies specializing in the development of artificial intelligence are in a state of competition concerning each other. This position is explained by the fact that firms from an Asian country do not have access to technologies developed in the United States. At the same time, this fact does not negate the existence of Chinese machine intelligence systems and that Beijing has some progress in the corresponding technological direction. For this reason, the lack of competition, in this case, is a conditional assessment of the state of affairs and is fair only from the point of view that provides that the lack of access to American technologies means that it is impossible to move forward in innovative industries. Not everyone agrees with this vision of the situation in the technology sector.
Currently, the state of relations between Beijing and Washington is the worst in many years. Mutual restrictions in the technology industry are a testament to the tensions between the world’s two largest economies. The White House in October banned the sale of artificial intelligence chips made by companies such as Nvidia to China. This measure was an addition to other similar restrictions. Washington explains its actions by concerns that Beijing may use advanced technologies to strengthen its military capabilities. China is taking retaliatory measures. As part of the relevant actions, Beijing has restricted the export of germanium and gallium used in the semiconductor manufacturing process. China has also made a similar decision regarding the supply of graphite needed for making batteries for electric vehicles.
Kai-Fu Lee says that the current state of affairs in relations between Beijing and Washington is regrettable. But at the same time, he stated that his company has an impressive stock of chips and began collecting a collection of semiconductors this year. According to him, for this purpose, the startup overspent its initial bank account.