Author | Yu Huiru Editor | Luo Lijuan
After some foreshadowing, Kai-fu Lee finally made an official announcement.
On March 19, Kai-fu Lee, chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures, announced through Moments that the company Project AI 2.0 was established, positioning itself as a world-class company with a new AI 2.0 platform and AI-first productivity applications.
On the same day, the new company was officially launched on the official website of Innovation Works.
Unlike the previous official announcement by Wang Huiwen, the former co-founder of Meituan, Kai-fu Lee’s new company has made a lot of progress internally.
According to Sinovation Works, so far, many senior technical management talents with global manufacturers who can lead a large team have confirmed their intention to join Project AI 2.0. At the same time, Sinovation Ventures is closely discussing the first round of fundraising with a number of top investors, and will announce it to the outside world in due course.
It is worth mentioning that, 5 days before the official announcement of the new project, Innovation Works organized an AI trend media sharing session. At the meeting, Kai-Fu Lee shared his views on the many issues of artificial intelligence and the technological investment trend of AI 2.0.
From the media sharing session, to the launch of the project’s official website, and then to the release of the manifesto in the circle of friends. There are indications that Kai-fu Lee is fighting a prepared battle.
“Project AI 2.0 is not just a Chinese version of ChatGPT.” Li Kaifu said in the circle of friends that he has more and bigger imaginations about the future of AI 2.0.
1. Intended to create an AI 2.0 platform
At an AI trend media sharing meeting a few days ago, Kai-Fu Lee declared: AI 2.0 has arrived, and this is a revolution that must not be missed. In this era, new platforms will be born and all applications will be rewritten.
In Li Kaifu’s view, “If AI 1.0 is the invention of electricity, AI 2.0 is the power grid.” The former is an artificial intelligence explosion based on deep learning, and the latter is a breakthrough based on large-scale basic models.
Therefore, Innovation Works decided to join this unmissable revolution and founded Project AI 2.0.
The new company is in the stage of both capital and technology: on the one hand, Sinovation Ventures is discussing the first round of fundraising with several top investors; on the other hand, Project AI 2.0 is recruiting world-class talents from all over the world to form a core team , the recruitment of the first batch of top talents focuses on large models, NLP, multi-modality, algorithms, distributed architecture/Infrastucture and other directions.
“Not just a Chinese version of ChatGPT”, so what else is Project AI 2.0 going to do?
Kai-fu Lee positioned this new company in his circle of friends: “A global company dedicated to building a new AI 2.0 platform and AI-first productivity applications.”
To put it simply, we hope to build a platform, an ecology of productivity applications.
Source: Innovation Works official website
This is a departure from the thinking of the bigwigs who have previously announced their entry into the field. Previously, whether it was Wang Huiwen, who had no experience in the AI field, or Li Zhifei, the founder of Momenwen, who majored in machine translation and natural language processing and worked in the Google AI team for many years, or Wang Xiaochuan, who had served as the CEO of Sogou, They all aim to “build a Chinese version of OpenAI.”
In contrast, Lee Kai-fu has a greater “ambition”.
“In the new era of AI 2.0, there will be platform opportunities ten times larger than the mobile Internet.” Li Kaifu said, while high-energy chat tools, AIGC generation of graphic and text creation, Copilot, and applications seen today are only AI 2.0 capabilities the beginning.
2. AI veteran Kai-fu Lee
Kai-fu Lee, who has passed his sixtieth year, is not the first bigwig to announce his entry into ChatGPT, but he may be the one most expected by the outside world.
This is related to its past experience.
Kai-fu Lee officially entered the field of AI 40 years ago. At that time, 22-year-old Kai-Fu Lee was applying for a doctorate at CMU (Carnegie Mellon University). He wrote in the application: AI is the interpretation of human learning process, the quantification of human thinking process, the clarification of human behavior, and the understanding of human intelligence.
Compared with Wang Huiwen, who has a high-profile official announcement, Li Kaifu belongs to the academic school with Zhengzheng Miaohong. He founded Innovation Works as a technology VC. AI has always been a banner of Innovation Works.
In addition to fund investment, Sinovation Works has also been cultivating companies through tower incubation.
The so-called peak incubation means that innovation workshops need to pass the screening of technological trends at a very early stage. After setting a specific technical theme at the strategic level, dig deep into professionals in this field, research papers, and track the latest developments in the industry. Then, hand in hand assist entrepreneurs in recruiting teams, polishing products, finding business opportunities, marketing, and assisting in fundraising.
Project AI 2.0 is not the first company incubated at the top of Innovation Works. All-weather Technology learned from the official website of Sinovation Ventures that before Project AI 2.0, the other six companies were Lanzhou Technology, Innovation Qizhi, Chengyuan Technology, Beyond Technology, Jiexiang Lingyue and MOOTION.
Among them, Chuangxinqizhi, which was established in February 2018, has landed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and was named “the first AI+ manufacturing stock on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange”; Lanzhou Technology has made a large model of Mencius.
According to Sinovation Ventures, in the initial stage of Project AI 2.0 preparations, Kai-fu Lee will spend a lot of energy and time to personally lead the formation of the new company and concentrate on recruiting a new world-class management team. When the Project AI 2.0 CEO arrives, he will strike a balance between Project AI 2.0 and fund management.
3. Hot big model startups
In the first quarter of 2023, almost all hot topics in the technology circle are related to ChatGPT.
On the other side of the ocean, from investing in large-scale model companies to releasing generative dialogue products, Microsoft and Google secretly competed and took turns.
Among the major domestic companies, Ali, Tencent, JD.com, Byte, etc. have announced their entry into the game. The “AI pioneer” Baidu released the generative dialogue product Wenxin Yiyan on March 16. Before Baidu, the team of Professor Qiu Xipeng of the Natural Language Processing Laboratory of Fudan University released the first domestic conversational AI model “MOSS” in February, inviting the public to participate in the internal test.
According to the latest news disclosed by Baidu, since Baidu officially announced “Wenxin Yiyan” in February, more than 650 companies have announced access to the Wenxin Yiyan ecosystem. On the first day of Wenxin Yiyan, more than 600,000 people were invited to apply for the test.
As of 13:00 on March 20th, 4 days after Wenxin Yiyan was released, 21 companies have completed the first batch of cooperation contracts, and more than 100,000 companies have applied for Wenxin Yiyan API call service testing.
At the same time, Baidu said that Baidu Smart Cloud will hold a new product launch conference on March 27, releasing a series of Wenxin Yiyan cloud services and application products.
When ChatGPT stands on the wind, the big guy who has already achieved fame also wants to be a “pig on the wind” again.
Last month, Wang Huiwen, the former “No. 2 person in Meituan”, Li Zhifei, the founder of Momenwen, and Dai Yusen and Liu Yuan, two partners of ZhenFund, had a meal together. At the dinner table, when talking about this wave of popular AI, Wang Huiwen invited Li Zhifei to join hands with all in large models.
Subsequently, Wang Huiwen issued a search for talents on the social platform, saying that he would form a team to embrace the new era and build China’s Open AI. He established Light Years Beyond Technology Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as: Light Years Beyond) in Beijing, with his own investment of 50 million US dollars.
Not long after, his old partner Wang Xing announced in Moments that he would personally participate in the A-round investment of Wang Huiwen’s start-up company “Light Years Beyond” and serve as a director.
However, when Wang Huiwen issued the order to seek talents, Li Zhifei, who had dinner with him, became an opponent. In a media interview at the end of February, Li Zhifei said that the short-term goal is to make a 60-point general model in June next year.
Former Sogou CEO Wang Xiaochuan, who has kept a low profile for a long time, also made an appearance. He announced through his circle of friends that he will enter the battlefield of the Chinese version of OpenAI, and admitted to the media that the project is “in preparation.”
Following Wang Huiwen, Li Zhifei, and Wang Xiaochuan, Zhou Bowen, the former head of JD AI, also posted a hero post in Moments, expressing that there is no upper limit and sincerely recruits partners to create the Chinese version of ChatGPT together.
However, he is taking a differentiated path – vertically integrating from its own basic large model to application and user full-scenario closed-loop, to realize the “dual landing” of generative artificial intelligence technology and commercial value.
From Wang Huiwen, Li Zhifei, Wang Xiaochuan, Zhou Bowen, and then to Li Kaifu, these bigwigs come from bright backgrounds, are worth a lot of money, and all have past achievements.
Except for Wang Huiwen, the past experiences of Li Zhifei, Wang Xiaochuan, Zhou Bowen, Li Kaifu and others can be more or less linked to AI, search and other technical fields. Although the technical strength is the weakest, Wang Huiwen’s financial resources can support his ambitions.
Who can build the Chinese version of OpenAI, time will give the answer.