The three big Chinese corporations that started building China’s digital ecosystem — Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent — each announced plans this week to make AI-powered products and solutions more accessible.
As is common whenever a new technology emerges, the cost paid by “early-adopters” —those who embrace market innovations early— is high and, as such technology gains scale, it gradually drops.
This is the case with most solutions and products that use artificial intelligence: they are still too expensive (and imperfect) to be mass adopted by people or companies.
Baidu reported that its Ernie service (ChatGPT equivalent) showed an evolution —in terms of accuracy and efficiency— 10 times greater than that shown just a month ago.
In other words, this means that the “learning” gain of these services occurs exponentially, which allows us to project the colossal power that such solutions will have in a few (few) years.
The Alibaba group, in turn, disclosed that “changes in the programming architecture” are causing the costs of using its artificial intelligence (AI) services to fall at a rapid pace.
Tencent made a similar announcement, announcing the creation of “popular products” for the use of its AI solutions.
These announcements are relevant because the computational capacity of these three big techs is, in fact, enormous and their use for AI popularization purposes has decisive weight.
This is, moreover, a very characteristic characteristic of China. At other times in the history of the technology industry, high-cost solutions only became widespread thanks to the actions of large Chinese companies.
Take the example of electric cars.
The beautiful, modern and technological Tesla are expensive for the mass public, but Nio or BYD vehicles fit in the pockets of taxi drivers, app drivers and the popular middle class. No wonder China has the largest fleet of this type of car in the world.
Even Tesla, to offer its vehicles at a cost and profit margin that make Elon Musk happy, chose China to deploy its largest factories.
The same reasoning can be applied to many other sectors.
5G networks, for example, are only reaching emerging countries such as African and Southeast Asian nations, thanks to Huawei’s “competitive” prices.
In this sense, the priority that Chinese big techs have been giving to AI is an unequivocal sign that such technology should be massified and offered at affordable costs thanks to the “made in China” seal.
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