Chinese company Baidu to launch ChatGPT-style service called Ernie Bot in March

In short: China has not been left out when it comes to the chatbot revolution. Following the explosion of ChatGPT on the scene and Google’s announcement of its own artificial intelligence-based technology called Bard, China’s Baidu has unveiled its version, called Ernie Bot, due in the country this March.

The hype around generative artificial intelligence has skyrocketed since the launch of ChatGPT last November. The OpenAI service reached 100 million users in just two months, making it the fastest growing consumer app of all time; It took TikTok nine months to reach this milestone.

Due to the fact that Google is in a hurry to launch its version of the chatbot soon, Reuters reports that Chinese search engine giant Baidu said it would complete internal testing of a similar project in March. Its AI-based language model Ernie (an acronym for Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration) has been in development since 2019. During this time, he learned to perform tasks such as understanding language, generating language, and converting text to an image.

A person familiar with the matter said that Ernie will first launch as a standalone app before Baidu integrates it with the company’s search engine so the technology can be used to help with search results, similar to how Microsoft plans to integrate OpenAI’s generative AI. in Bing.

Like many Western internet companies, Google and its services are banned in China, so Ernie could be the first opportunity for the majority of its population to legally interact with an advanced AI chatbot. It remains to be seen if it can match the best offerings from OpenAI and Google. As noted by Reuters, Baidu launched its own version of the Metaverse called XiRang, which has been criticized for not offering a very immersive experience; Baidu claims that work on it is still ongoing. Ernie has been in development for four years, so the chatbot power match chatGPT.

ChatGPT is monetizing its service by launching a $20/month subscription option called ChatGPT Plus, which offers priority access during peak periods, faster response times, greater stability, and priority access to new features and improvements. The tier is now available in the US, although there is a waiting list for those who wish to register.

Center image: John Russell

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