China Baidu
Baidu CEO Robin Li introduces the functions of Ernie Bot during an event in Beijing on Thursday. Photo: AP/Ng Han Guan

Baidu unveils ChatGPT-rival Ernie Bot; 650 companies sign up


Chinese search giant Baidu unveiled its artificial intelligence chatbot Ernie Bot, presenting its rival to the Microsoft-backed ChatGPT in a pre-recorded video presentation Thursday that appeared to disappoint investors.

Baidu CEO Robin Li said Ernie Bot was still not perfected, but the company went ahead with presenting it due to high demand. Shares plunged 10% after Li showed a prerecorded demonstration of the Ernie bot instead of the real-time live demonstration of its capabilities that many had expected. They closed down 6.4%.

During the demonstration, Ernie Bot was asked questions about a Chinese science-fiction novel, “The Three-Body Problem,” and was asked to make an image based on prompts.

The Ernie in Ernie Bot stands for “Enhanced Representation of Knowledge Integration.”

“Baidu has for over a decade persisted in investing in artificial intelligence … Ernie Bot is the result of many years of hard work,” said Li. He said the first version of Ernie Bot was developed in 2019.

Li said 650 companies had signed up to use Ernie Bot, which can be implemented in a variety of applications such as searches, AI cloud, autonomous driving and in smart devices.

The Ernie Bot launch comes months after OpenAI’s ChatGPT was first released, demonstrating the AI-chatbot’s ability in answering questions and even writing essays. Baidu is among several Chinese firms working on similar chatbots.

In February, Baidu first mentioned that the internal testing of its Ernie Bot was almost complete. The company, known in China for its search engine, has shifted its focus in recent years to artificial intelligence, including working on autonomous driving technology and other AI applications.

In its 2022 fiscal year, the company says it spent 23.3 billion yuan ($3.4 billion) on research and development, equivalent to about a fifth of its revenue.

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“Baidu has for over a decade persisted in investing in artificial intelligence … Ernie Bot is the result of many years of hard work,” said Li. He said the first version of Ernie Bot was developed in 2019.

Oh really? Lot of open source code has been available on GitHub including the OpenAI codex for a while.

I wonder if Ernie will be better at faking data than GPT-4?

Or just go the brute force approach ingesting content?

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Stay away from anything from China. Never had TikTok, never will. Not going to start with this either.

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Baidu is another proxy for the CCP. Those companies would have faced mysteriously new investigations by the government if they did not sign up in show of solidarity. The owners would have been removed from the company like another former Chinese teacher that became a billionaire.

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As already written a few days before, the best thing is to use both engines to get the best result. One is surely and undoubtedly restricted on China and CCP issues while the other is restricted and one-side biased due to political correctness or wokeness. Both contradict to what a real AI is attributed to and should be to call it an AI. Therefore, only using both will give the users a chance for optimal results. (Not perfect results, because that would have required both ones to be completely unrestricted, so only potentially optimal results)

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ChatGPT is impressive. It wrote product review for me. As non English native all I needed was check if this AI didn't copy someone's writing and add my own words. Fortuna it was all clear. Ask CGPT where the information is from, you will receive interesting answer.

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Someone wrote some software... never happened before right?

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I guess real intelligence is going out of style.

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Chatbots in China are censored - ask them about 1989 Tiananmen Square or Winnie the Pooh

How could anyone rely on a chatbot that can't even give ya straight answers

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Chinese companies have been claiming AI chat for years. Saw a demonstration last year where their A.I. was a complete fraud and couldn't speak any Chinese dialect. It spoke English and Thai. Seriously. Thai? Turned out that the A.I. part was a Thai woman talking into a microphone from another room. I'm not joking.

Not saying this A.I. chat isn't thousands of Chinese criminals being forced to sit at a computer to interact with others, but given the vast history of fake claims, it could be.

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Sorry, when I use the term "Chinese criminals", I really meant people in China, convicted in a Chinese court to spend time in prison. I wasn't trying to slur normal, regular, good, Chinese people in China who make up the vast majority of all Chinese people.

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