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CEO of TikTok's parent warns about company's slow adoption of AI

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The CEO of ByteDance Liang Rubo has warned that the company has been slow to adopt generative AI technology, complaining that it didn’t appear in the company’s half-year tech review until 2023 despite GPT-1 coming onto the scene in 2018.

According to Liang, the company risks becoming mediocre because of its complacency and risks being overtaken by startups who make more time-consuming apps than TikTok. Liang said that one of the issues facing the company was a recent rapid expansion which has made the company less efficient overall.

Speaking at a meeting in Singapore, Liang said:

“Our company is not sensitive enough (to new technologies). For example, discussions about GPT did not appear in our half-year tech review until 2023, although GPT-1 was already released in 2018.

For many good startup teams, they are very familiar with the industry. They can quickly spot any new projects appearing on GitHub, and then they start seeking acquisition or partnership opportunities.”

While Liang may think that ByteDance was too slow to the AI party, the company has still responded quite well to the AI developments, for example, it has launched several generative AI chatbots including Doubao in China and Cici and ChitChop in overseas markets.

In the meeting, Liang highlighted the point that companies with the best models were creating generative AI models long ago between 2018 and 2021. If ByteDance wants to be relevant in gen AI, it will have to make up for those lost years to catch up.

Of course, OpenAI’s launch of GPT-3 just over a year ago didn’t only catch ByteDance off-guard. Google was also forced to release its Bard AI a few months later but still refers to this service as experimental and is only just starting to bake AI into more of its suite of products.

The TikTok algorithm is sometimes the attention of study for its effectiveness in keeping users hooked. It’ll be interesting to see what ByteDance can cook up with regards to generative AI to see if it can differentiate itself somehow from the other players.

Source: Reuters

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