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China Unveils Text-to-Video AI Tool Vidu, Rival to OpenAI’s Sora

China has entered the text-to-video AI race with Vidu, a tool developed by Shengshu Technology and Tsinghua University. Similar to OpenAI’s Sora, Vidu generates videos from text descriptions. However, Vidu’s current limitation is video length – it can only produce clips up to 16 seconds, compared to Sora’s 60-second capability.

Domestic Innovation with Global Aspirations

Launched over the weekend, Vidu is seen as a significant step towards China’s goal of competing with leading AI players. Shengshu, a young company with strong academic backing from Tsinghua University, is leading this effort. The company claims Vidu can generate 1080p resolution videos based on user prompts.

Vidu’s Strengths

Shengshu’s chief scientist, Zhu Jun, highlighted Vidu’s advancements in several key areas. He described Vidu as “imaginative” and capable of “simulating the physical world.” Zhu emphasized Vidu’s ability to produce short videos with consistent storylines, characters, and timelines. Additionally, Vidu is designed to understand and incorporate “Chinese elements” into its creations.

Demo Showcases Vidu’s Potential

Shengshu unveiled Vidu at the Zhongguancun Forum with demo videos showcasing the tool’s capabilities. These included clips featuring a panda playing guitar and a puppy swimming in a pool, both rendered with impressive detail.

China’s AI Race: Catching Up

Vidu’s arrival signifies China’s ambition to catch up with global leaders in generative AI, like Microsoft-backed OpenAI. Unlike OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which sparked a wave of Chinese competitors following its launch, Sora hasn’t garnered the same level of interest from Chinese tech giants.

The Challenge of Computing Power

Industry experts cite a lack of sufficient computing resources as a hurdle for Chinese companies. Li Yangwei, a technical consultant, explained that generating a one-minute video with Sora requires eight powerful Nvidia GPUs to run for over three hours. The US export restrictions on these advanced chips further hinder Chinese progress in this field.

Shengshu: A Collaborative Effort

Founded in March 2023, Shengshu boasts a team predominantly comprised of researchers from Tsinghua’s AI institute, alongside talent from tech giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and ByteDance. Interestingly, Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, is also developing its own video generation models.

Financial Backing for Future Development

Shengshu recently secured hundreds of millions of yuan in funding from investors like Qiming Ventures, Zhipu AI, and Baidu Ventures. This financial support positions the company well for further development of Vidu and its AI technology.

Implications and Future Outlook

Vidu’s launch marks a significant milestone in China’s AI landscape. It demonstrates the country’s growing capabilities in developing advanced AI technologies and its стремление к лидерству в этой области. Vidu’s ability to generate high-quality videos from simple text prompts has the potential to revolutionize various industries, including entertainment, education, and marketing.

However, Vidu’s current limitations, particularly its shorter video length compared to Sora, highlight the ongoing challenges in AI development. Addressing these limitations will require continued research and investment in computing power and AI algorithms.

As Vidu continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how it compares to other text-to-video AI tools and how it is adopted by users and businesses. The competition in this field is likely to intensify, driving further innovation and advancements in AI capabilities.

Additional Points to Consider

  • The potential impact of Vidu on copyright and intellectual property issues, particularly in generating videos based on existing creative works.
  • The ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI-generated videos, such as the potential for misinformation and manipulation.
  • The role of government regulation in ensuring responsible and ethical development and use of AI technologies like Vidu.

In conclusion, Vidu’s emergence represents a significant step forward for China’s AI industry and highlights the country’s growing global presence in this field. As AI technology continues to develop, Vidu and other similar tools have the potential to transform various aspects of our lives, making it crucial to address the associated challenges and implications responsibly.