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China’s ChatGPT-like program MOSS to be made open source

via PxHere (representational only)

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    The team behind MOSS, China’s first ChatGPT-like software, announced it will become an open-source program once more public testing is done.

    Speaking to Jiefang Daily at the 2023 Global Artificial Intelligence Developers Conference in Shanghai on Sunday, Qiu Xipeng, a member of the team developing MOSS, said they are planning to open source the program by the end of this month after optimizing it through human interaction for a month.

    “MOSS still has a lot of room for improvement,” said Qiu, a professor at the School of Computer Science and Technology of Fudan University and the director of the Natural Language Processing Committee of the Shanghai Computer Society, China Daily reported.

    But its advent proves that the domestic scientific research team has the ability to overcome important technical challenges on the way to developing ChatGPT-like products.”

    Named after the super-intelligent quantum computer from China’s blockbuster movie “The Wandering Earth 2,” Chinese state media outlets billed MOSS as China’s answer to the popular ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot developed by OpenAI.

    The team from Fudan University’s Natural Language Processing Lab issued an apology online after the platform crashed due to heavy traffic from users hours after MOSS’ launch on Feb. 21. The website remains down as this of writing.

    Although MOSS was launched as a rival to ChatGPT, the team behind it admitted their software has a few shortcomings in its programming.

    Speaking to Chinese media on Thursday, Qiu explained that the “gap between MOSS and ChatGPT is mainly in the pre-training stage of natural language model base.”

    The number of parameters of MOSS is an order of magnitude smaller than that of ChatGPT, and there is still a lot of room for improvement in task completion and knowledge reserve,” Qiu said, according to The Register.

    Additionally, a journalist who tested MOSS before the website crashed noted that the program was more proficient in English than Chinese, even though the software was created in China.

    It was also unclear how many natural languages MOSS can support, but ChatGPT can reportedly generate text from 90 different languages, including Chinese — though performance may vary.

    Commenting on their plan to open-source MOSS, Qiu said foreign companies had kept their version of the program to themselves, but the team at Fudan University aims to share their creation for everyone to experience.

    Large-scale language models are almost monopolized by foreign countries. They only develop APIs or do not open them to us. We hope to share MOSS and model codes and development experience with everyone, and hope that China can be at the forefront of the world in terms of large-scale language models.

    Qiu added that they want to promote “AI inclusiveness and empower the domestic artificial intelligence industry” through their team’s program and other future projects in cooperation with the Shanghai Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, which has strongly supported the team’s work.


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