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Tech giant Baidu unveiled "Ernie," ChatGPT is China’s answer to AI tech

BEIJING – Day after popular artificial intelligence tools chatgptIts developer OpenAI released its latest version, GPT4, Chinese tech giant Baidu, best known for its search engine and map services in the country, released its AI answer to the world. In a pre-recorded video presentation, Baidu’s celebrity founder Robin Li demonstrated the “Ernie” (Enhanced Representation of Knowledge Integration) chatbot, which he said can understand human intent and provide near-human-level feedback.

The service has not yet been released for the general public to try, but the event listed functions such as understanding Chinese, generating text and performing mathematical calculations, which overlap with ChatGPT’s functionality.

There were some highlights during the presentation, such as the presentation of a poster that Arnie was said to have created based on the text’s description, but overall, investors seemed unimpressed with the pre-recorded launch.

Baidu’s stock price fell as much as 10% at the opening on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, but the stock recovered its losses in Friday trading.

Robin Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Baidu Inc., attends a launch event for the company's Ernie Chatbot on March 16, 2023 in Beijing, China.

Robin Li, chairman and chief executive officer of Baidu Inc., attends a launch event for the company’s Ernie Chatbot on March 16, 2023 in Beijing, China.

Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Reuters news agency said that while a limited number of people received codes to try out the Ernie software after Thursday’s launch, they quickly offered their reviews on social media platforms, some of which compared it alongside American-made chatbots such as Microsoft. Bing, which Chat uses GPT technology.

One person said on China’s Twitter-like platform Weibo that Ernie was able to answer “OK” to a question about a philosopher, for example, but noted that “there was a certain gap between Ernie bot and Bing.”

Reuters quoted the reviewer, a tech blogger who goes by the handle Chapingjun, with more than 2.4 million followers on Weibo, as saying the performance gap was “not too big” and noting that, “on some questions (Ernie) even performed better than Bing.” .”

Despite the lackluster launch event, Ernie enjoys a significant market advantage on its home turf over U.S.-made products due to both China’s own drive for technological freedom and Western sanctions.

At the annual meeting of China’s legislature that ended on Monday, a restructuring of China’s science and technology ministry was announced with the stated goal of pursuing “self-reliance” amid growing restrictions from US restrictions on the sale of advanced processing chips and manufacturing equipment to China. .


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