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Thursday, 8.06.2023
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  • have tried out ChatGPT myself and found it really good. This has marked a new stage for the future development of AI,’ technology chief Sun Dong says
  • blic consultation on AI supercomputing centre for top talent to be carried out this year, he adds

Hong Kong aims to develop its own artificial intelligence-based chatbot platform, similar to the popular ChatGPT, to catch up in the global race for innovation, the city’s technology chief has said.

Secretary for Innovation, Technology and Industry Sun Dong on Saturday also said authorities would carry out a public consultation this year on plans to set up an artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputing centre to attract top talent and technology enterprises to Hong Kong.

He outlined his AI vision after revealing plans earlier to set up a special task force to recommend the best way to navigate “revolutionary” disruption caused by the controversial chatbot ChatGPT, including the option of using legislation to regulate the technology.

“I have tried out ChatGPT myself and found it really good. This has marked a new stage for the future development of AI,” he told a radio programme. “This has inspired us. We need to reallocate our resources into the study of AI in order to catch up with global technology development.”

ChatGPT was unveiled in November last year by Microsoft-backed OpenAI. The service, which generates humanlike text, attracted 100 million users only two months after its launch, which made it the fastest-growing consumer application in history.

The platform has taken the internet by storm and shaken up the global education sector as it can produce humanlike responses on topics such as politics, poetry in the style of William Shakespeare, sports, science and more, made possible through machine learning algorithms trained with enormous amounts of information.

Sun stressed that he was open-minded about the chatbot application and said the government aimed to develop its own home-grown AI-based platform similar to ChatGPT.

“We should embrace this technology to examine how we can use it for better and wider application … We need to develop our own AI based platform like that of ChatGPT. This is something we care more about,” he said.

“ChatGPT is supported by a very strong and powerful AI platform that combines the software and hardware. The task force will discuss how we should respond to the challenges brought on by this technology.”

But the popularity of the application has sparked polarised responses. A Singapore government agency is said to be working on an enhanced productivity work tool based on ChatGPT that allows the city state’s civil servants to draft reports and speeches with the help of the chatbot.

But two universities in Hong Kong – the University of Hong Kong and Baptist University – banned their students from using ChatGPT for their coursework last month.

“I keep an open mind on this technology and totally understand why the universities have taken this approach. Actually, even Stanford University in the United States has banned its application,” the minister said.

Lu Xinning, deputy director of Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong, earlier said the development of ChatGPT had inspired Hong Kong and Beijing to think about devising their own plans to implement similar AI tools.

As part of a government initiative worth more than HK$10 billion, introduced in this year’s budget to turn the city into an international innovation and technology (I&T) hub, authorities will also carry out a feasibility study this year on the creation of an AI Supercomputing Centre to bolster development.

Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po will take charge of a new Digital Economy Development Committee to draw up plans to promote the AI industry in Hong Kong, including the supercomputing centre.

Sun said the government would kick off a public consultation to gather views on the set-up of the centre, and promised to dedicate sufficient resources to the project.

“Hong Kong has started very late in the field of AI supercomputing compared with Shenzhen and Zhuhai. That’s why we need to push for the development of a digital economy and smart city,” he said. “We hope to set up this supercomputing centre to attract top-notch talent and enterprises from around the world to come to Hong Kong.”

Sun added with the government’s latest injection of HK$200 million to boost the “iAm Smart” platform, a mobile app for government services, all public works projects would be digitalised by next year and a “single portal for online government services” would be introduced in 2025.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Cannix Yau

Quelle/Source: South China Morning Post, 04.03.2023

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