Will TikTok Go Slow in AI? Well, Sure

December 7, 2023

green-dino_thumb_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dumb dinobaby. No smart software required.

The AI efforts of non-governmental organizations, government agencies, and international groups are interesting. Many resolutions, proclamations, and blog polemics, etc. have been saying, “Slow down AI. Smart software will put people out of work. Destroy humans’ ability to think. Unleash the ‘I’ll be back guy.'”


Getting those enthusiastic about smart software is a management problem. Thanks, MSFT Copilot. Good enough.

My stance in the midst of this fearmongering has been bemusement. I know that predicting the future perturbations of technology is as difficult as picking a Kentucky Derby winner and not picking a horse that will drop dead during the race. When groups issue proclamations and guidelines without an enforcement mechanism, not much is going to happen in the restraint department.

I submit as partial evidence for my bemusement the article “TikTok Owner ByteDance Joins Generative AI Frenzy with Service for Chatbot Development, Memo Says.” What seems clear, if the write up is mostly on the money, is that a company linked to China is joining “the race to offer AI model development as a service.”

Two quick points:

  1. Model development allows the provider to get a sneak peak at what the user of the system is trying to do. This means that information flows from customer to provider.
  2. The company in the “race” is one of some concern to certain governments and their representatives.

The write up says:

ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, is working on an open platform that will allow users to create their own chatbots, as the company races to catch up in generative artificial intelligence (AI) amid fierce competition that kicked off with last year’s launch of ChatGPT. The “bot development platform” will be launched as a public beta by the end of the month…

The cited article points out:

China’s most valuable unicorn has been known for using some form of AI behind the scenes from day one. Its recommendation algorithms are considered the “secret sauce” behind TikTok’s success. Now it is jumping into an emerging market for offering large language models (LLMs) as a service.

What other countries are beavering away on smart software? Will these drive in the slow lane or the fast lane?

Stephen E Arnold, December 7, 2023


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