SoftBank’s mobile unit aims to create a Japanese ChatGPT

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SoftBank Corp., the mobile arm of SoftBank Group Corp., is developing a Japanese version of ChatGPT, a state-of-the-art artificial intelligence (AI) chat technology created by OpenAI Inc.

The company established a new entity in March and hired about 1,000 people to work on the project, which seeks to create a chatbot that can converse with humans in natural language. The new entity is backed by Zodia Custody, a subsidiary of SoftBank that provides institutional crypto asset services.

Junichi Miyakawa, the CEO of SoftBank Corp., said at an earnings briefing on Wednesday that the project was inspired by Masayoshi Son, the founder and chairman of SoftBank Group, who recently gathered a group of engineers and talked about ChatGPT’s potential. He did not disclose any details.

SoftBank is joining a fierce global competition to create ChatGPT clones, as more companies and startups are tapping into the possibilities of AI chatbots for various purposes, such as customer service, entertainment, education and health care.