In China, Copycats are Trying to Cash in on ChatGPT Hype

On social media, over a dozen accounts have offered chatbot services; some are free, while others charge annual fees of up to 999 yuan ($147).

In just a few months since it was released last November, ChatGPT’s incredibly convincing, almost-human replies to queries have made it an internet sensation. And while China’s tech giants have all announced similar projects, ChatGPT already has its copycats online.

As the AI product soared in popularity, a search on WeChat, China’s social media superapp, shows over a dozen accounts offering similar services: They claim users can chat with a robot through mini-apps and websites.

But in stark contrast to ChatGPT, an advanced AI chatbot trained by OpenAI and released for free, some copycats charge an annual fee of up to 999 yuan ($147) for unlimited access following several free trials.

“Artificial intelligence ChatGPT is neither a script nor software. It’s a ‘human’ capable of knowing and doing everything, and giving original answers based on its own thinking,” stated the introduction of an account named “AI Asking Robot,” which claimed to offer users access to a chatbot.

Another account, dubbed “ChatGPT Portal” operated by an individual, priced its services at 66 yuan per month, for which users could make a maximum of 1,200 queries. The service was blocked by WeChat on Friday after the platform noted it had received accusations of “malicious fraud” by users.

Chu Jiang, a senior lawyer at a Beijing-based law firm, told Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper that ChatGPT copycats could constitute multiple legal violations, ranging from market fraud to unfair competition. “Running such programmes may lead to criminal charges,” he said. Continue to read the full article here

— This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone