Tokyo , Japan – AI research organisation OpenAI has announced the establishment of a new office in Tokyo, Japan. This marks the first time OpenAI has opened an office in the Asian region. Moreover, it is also announced that they are releasing a GPT-4 custom model optimised for the Japanese language.

In a blog post by the company, it said that they are committed to collaborating with the Japanese government, local businesses, and research institutions in order to develop safe AI tools that serve Japan’s unique needs and to unlock new opportunities.

“We’re excited to be in Japan which has a rich history of people and technology coming together to do more. We believe AI will accelerate work by empowering people to be more creative and productive, while also delivering broad value to current and new industries that have yet to be imagined,” Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI, said.

As part of its Japan office opening, it has appointed Tadao Nagasaki as president of OpenAI Japan. In this new role, Nagasaki will lead the company’s commercial and market engagement efforts and help build its local team that will advance global affairs, go-to-market, communications, operations and other functions in serving Japan. 

“Our new local presence also gets us closer to leading businesses like Daikin, Rakuten, and TOYOTA Connected who are using ChatGPT Enterprise to automate complex business processes, assist in data analysis, and optimize internal reporting. ChatGPT also helps accelerate the efforts of local governments, such as Yokosuka City, which is leveraging the technology to improve the efficiency of public services in Japan,” the company said.

Sydney, Australia – Sitecore, a comprehensive digital experience software platform, has acknowledged its ongoing commitment to incorporating AI capabilities into its range of content and commerce solutions. This statement was announced in Sydney during the Sitecore DX (digital experience) Sydney 2023 conference. The business has already incorporated AI capabilities into its personalization and content cloud software.

A personalisation platform from Sitecore enables brands to gain insights from customers’ prior website interactions and has introduced an AI-driven Content Cloud for businesses.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT has already been fully integrated into the company’s suite of fully modular software solutions. By enabling marketers to integrate Generative AI capabilities into their Sitecore-driven marketing technology stack, this new feature, powered by Microsoft Azure OpenAI Service, improves efficiency, personalization, and scalable content production across Sitecore’s broad range of modular solutions.

Marketers can adapt their solutions by integrating their AI tools through open APIs (application programming interfaces) and customizable user interfaces (UIs) using Sitecore’s fully-modular approach. Examples from the real world include integrating ChatGPT into the Sitecore XM Cloud CMS (content management system) for quick translations and using ChatGPT to edit marketing content in the content hub to better tailor it to target audiences and distribution channels.

Additionally, Sitecore customers can use Dall-E to create various image variations for omnichannel campaigns managed by Sitecore’s Content Cloud.

Steve Tzikakis, CEO of Sitecore, said, “The future of marketing technology and brand experience will be AI-fuelled due to the sheer power of machine learning tools. However, businesses will need to move away from legacy software stacks, and infuse AI systems into composable software approaches that enable true flexibility and the ability to provide their customers with personalised and rich experiences.”

In a recent survey of 400 marketers in the US, Sitecore identified generative AI as a beneficial innovation that brand marketers must implement if they want to offer quick personalization to customers looking for immersive and intuitive digital experiences.

Tzikakis also commented, “Our Generative AI offering has been created to integrate with our composable strategy. Generative AI developments are moving incredibly fast. In fact, while 77% of US marketers feel their technology can handle AI demands, 45% are concerned by the significant costs they perceive will be required to maintain growth.” 

He added, “Sitecore’s composable platform helps combat this fear by giving Sitecore customers the ability to leverage our unique, composable offering, which allows brands to control when and how much spend they can invest depending on customer needs.”

Singapore – Regional e-commerce platform Lazada has recently released ‘LazzieChat’, its own e-commerce chatbot powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Said chatbot can answer users’ shopping queries on the Lazada platform to provide personalised shopping experience for users.

Said chatbot, a first of its kind in Southeast Asia, can intelligently respond to users’ questions and acts as personal shopper, providing personalised suggestions and product recommendations to help users optimise their shopping experience.

‘LazzieChat’ leverages Lazada’s own AI technology and platform, complemented by the natural language capabilities of Azure OpenAI Service. It can understand and respond to queries in a natural manner, and suggest relevant products or topics that may interest the user. It can also look up product descriptions and link products available on Lazada directly in the chat console so users can be informed and shop quickly and conveniently with confidence.

Moreover, the platform notes that ‘LazzieChat’ is most useful for fast-moving consumer goods categories such as fashion and beauty which are among the top items purchased on Lazada.

The chatbot is available in English in Singapore, the Philippines, and Indonesia markets, with the latter also receiving a Bahasa Indonesia version. More languages will be rolled out in due course.

Howard Wang, chief technology officer at Lazada Group, said, “Lazada is one of the first Southeast Asian e-commerce companies to integrate ChatGPT in Azure OpenAI Service into our chatbot. We are pleased to provide our users with LazzieChat as part of our continuous investment in technology to build a high-quality digital ecosystem that is set up for long-term growth.”

He added, “Online shopping journeys are becoming more dynamic with the help of technology. We want to bridge the gap between offline and online shopping by providing high-quality experiences that consumers love, and create value for brands and sellers who can tap into new technologies to reach out to a wider audience. We are confident AI will drive new developments in making online shopping and selling a seamless daily activity for everyone.”

Singapore – Lakehouse company Databricks has announced the release of Dolly 2.0, the world’s first open-source, instruction-following large language model (LLM) that is fine-tuned on a human-generated instruction dataset licensed for commercial use.

This follows the initial release of Dolly in March 2023, an LLM trained for less than USD$30 to exhibit ChatGPT-like human interactivity.

The 12B parameter language model is based on the EleutherAI Pythia model family and fine-tuned exclusively on a high-quality human-generated instruction-following dataset, which was crowdsourced among Databricks employees.

Moreover, Databricks is also open-sourcing the entirety of Dolly 2.0, including the training code, the dataset, and the model weights, all suitable for commercial use. This enables any organisation to create, own, and customise powerful LLMs that can talk to people without paying for API access or sharing data with third parties.

Meanwhile, its databricks-dolly-15k dataset contains 15,000 high-quality human-generated prompt or response pairs specifically designed for instruction tuning large language models. With this, anyone can use, modify, or extend this dataset for any purpose, including commercial applications.

“Dolly 2.0 is a game changer as it enables all organisations around the world to build their own bespoke models for their particular use cases to automate things and make processes much more productive in the field they’re in,” said Ali Ghodsi, CEO of Databricks.

Ghodsi also added that with Dolly 2.0, any organisation can create, own, and customise a powerful LLM to create a competitive advantage for their business.

Last year, Databricks has also launched the first lakehouse platform for data-driven businesses in the media and entertainment industry, ‘The Lakehouse for Media & Entertainment’.

Seattle, Washington – In addition to its artificial intelligence and machine learning-powered tools, global travel platform Expedia has announced the beta launch of its new in-app travel planning experience powered by AI chatbot ChatGPT

With the new feature, Expedia members can now start an open-ended conversation in the Expedia app and get recommendations on places to go, where to stay, how to get around, and what to see and do based on the chat. 

The new trip planning experience also brings in intelligent shopping by automatically saving hotels discussed in the conversation to a “trip” in the app, helping members stay organised and making it easier for them to start choosing dates, checking availability, and adding on flights, cars or activities.

Prior to this, Expedia built a plugin for ChatGPT that lets travellers start a conversation directly on the ChatGPT site and select the Expedia plugin to bring a trip to life, but the conversational trip planning is now brought directly in the Expedia app.

“Every great trip can be made or lost while planning and shopping. As the leader in travel tech, Expedia continues to build out the core operating system for the industry, constantly enhancing capabilities and making trip planning faster, simpler and even more informative,” said Peter Kern, vice chairman and CEO of Expedia Group.

Kern also mentioned that by integrating ChatGPT into the Expedia app and combining it with its other AI-based shopping capabilities such as hotel comparison, price tracking for flights and trip collaboration tools, the platform can now offer travellers an even more intuitive way to build their ‘perfect trip’.

This collaboration with OpenAI is currently in the beta testing phase, allowing Expedia to evolve the experience based on its app users’ feedback and interaction.

The conversational trip planning beta experience is rolling out globally in the English language on the Expedia iOS app.

Sydney, Australia Performance marketing network Reprise Digital has launched its new ‘AIpril Fools Campaign Generator’, an ideation tool developed by the company to help get the creative juices flowing ahead of April Fools Day.

Powered by OpenAI’s ChatGPT, the tool uses the latest in AI Large Language Models (LLM) technology to churn out witty campaign ideas. According to Reprise, the tool can inspire all marketing teams from any industry to create the ‘perfect’ April Fools campaign idea in a matter of seconds.

“Don’t be fooled by the AIpril Fools Campaign Generator, we don’t expect any Cannes Lion-winning ideas. This is more of a tongue-in-cheek creation highlighting the functionality of AI tools and how marketers should – and more to the point shouldn’t – be using them,” said Mychal Whittle, head of growth and integration at Reprise.

Whittle also added that the aim of the stunt is to show that companies still need people to drive creativity and salience for marketing campaigns, but there is a future world where they can combine both the human mind and AI to facilitate and deliver best-in-class creative ideas. 

Andrew Holford, chief product officer at Reprise added, “The buzz around AI facilitating marketers is huge, and we are already seeing some promising tools that can automate onerous work. Many of our products have AI [built-in] to deliver insights, content and data solutions at scale.”

Holford furthered, “However, there will continue to be a need for our people to bring the creativity and context to ensure clients get the bespoke and tailored strategies they need to succeed.”

“We aren’t expecting any of the campaign ideas generated by the tool to be turned in to real campaigns, we expect them to be relatively generic at this point but we’re pretty sure the tool will bring some fun to ideation ahead of April Fools Day,” Whittle concluded. 

The tool can be accessed via the AIpril Fools Campaign Generator’s dedicated website.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Brand strategy consultancy Brand Soul Malaysia Sdn Bhd has announced the launch of an artificial intelligence (AI) driven marketing strategy platform in the country. The launch will be done in collaboration with marketing strategy technology platform Robotic Marketer. 

The new partnership is a women-led venture by Stella Wong, founder of Brand Soul Malaysia and Mellissah Smith, CEO of Robotic Marketer, stepping towards building the future of marketing.

The launch intends to transform the branding and marketing landscape by becoming the sustainable brand and AI marketing partner for growing businesses, as well as help marketers capitalise on AI and ChatGPT technology for better marketing ROI.

“We are thrilled to be the leading licensee of Robotic Marketer in Malaysia to extend our service offerings. With ChatGPT technology becoming the buzzword in almost every industry, we aim to become Malaysia’s first branding and marketing consultancy that puts technology and experience into real practice,” said Wong.

Wong also explained that the marketing automation platform will be a ‘game-changer’ for businesses, with up-to-date data analysis, reporting, and full visibility of marketing strategy performance in one single platform. 

She also mentioned that some of its key functionalities include creating a comprehensive marketing plan and tactics with the target audience and competitor insights and will feature a 12-month marketing calendar with real-time data and industry benchmarking analysis.

Smith also commented on the partnership, stating, “We found that Brand Soul had accumulated respect in the industry working with companies that benefited from their creative approach and performance-centric brand marketing campaigns. The leap into data-driven marketing strategies using artificial intelligence is a good fit with Brand Soul’s expertise in branding and marketing.”

Moving forward, Brand Soul will launch a series of AI marketing awareness programmes and introduce Channel Partnership Programme to help software companies and their channel partners develop go-to-market strategies to build brands and generate leads. Companies that Robotic Marketer work with across the channel include SAP, Oracle, Mitel and Zift.

Brand Soul will also offer Robotic Marketer as part of its branding and marketing services suite, including brand strategy, brand identity, digital marketing, seed marketing, and content creation, amongst others.