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Taiwan develops domestic AI tool to defend against China's online infiltration

Trustworthy AI Dialogue Engine or 'TAIDE' will be developed as a public resource for professional use

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(Pexels, Google DeepMind photo)

(Pexels, Google DeepMind photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan is set to invest in the development of its own large language model AI tool, similar to ChatGPT, to counter the threat of Chinese influence through online digital tools.

The project, named “TAIDE,” follows news of the Chinese chatbot program, "Ernie Bot," which was developed by Baidu and made available to the public in 2023. UDN reported that Taiwan could invest as much as NT$17.4 billion (US$556 million) through the year 2026 to develop expertise and programs related to AI research.

Among those funds, NT$230 million (US$7.4 million) will be allocated specifically towards the development of TAIDE, which stands for "Trustworthy AI Dialogue Engine."

As an example of the dangers presented by Chinese infiltration into modern digital tools, Japanese media reporting on Ernie Bot recently asked the program, “Who won the Taiwan election?” The program correctly replied “Lai Ching-te (賴清德),” but added unprompted that, “No matter how the situation in Taiwan may change, there is only one China.”

With the rise in popularity of applications like TikTok among young people, the Taiwan government has grown increasingly concerned over the possibility of Chinese disinformation and propaganda. With emerging AI technologies set to shape the cultural landscape in the decade ahead, Taipei hopes the development of domestic AI tools will serve as an effective counter to Chinese infiltration attempts on online platforms.

According to reports, TAIDE will be developed primarily for professional use by businesses, banks, hospitals, and government offices to assist in organizing data and drafting documents. Developers boast the program will be capable of processing and storing private information securely on Taiwan-based servers, free of access or influence from the Chinese Communist Party.