Chinese internet giant Baidu announced its AI-powered chatbot named Ernie Bot during a press conference today. Ernie Bot has been in the news for quite some time now and it's designed to answer complex questions just like OpenAI's popular bot ChatGPT.
Baidu was expected to complete the internal testing of its chatbot by March this year. However, Ernie bot isn't something that surfaced out of nowhere. The company has been working on its underlying large language model called "Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration" (ERNIE) for years now. The model was first introduced back in 2019.
According to Reuters, Baidu's shares went down by around 10% as CEO Robin Li demonstrated the bot in front of the public. His presentation included pre-recorded videos of the bot writing a poem and answering questions about the fiction novel The Three Body Problem, among various things.
Li acknowledged that while the Ernie bot may not be perfect yet, they are unveiling it today due to market demand. Speaking of which, we have already seen similar attempts from big companies like Google offering ChatGPT-style bots. Ernie Bot's announcement comes just days after OpenAI introduced the upgraded GPT-4 with text-image support, which is already powering the Bing chatbot.
Baidu wants to bake the chatbot into its search engine and also create an ecosystem around Ernie with applications in smart cars, cloud, and other areas. Li said that 650 companies have agreed to be a part of the ecosystem as of now. The list includes a Shaolin Temple and several Chinese state media outlets. As of now, there is no word on when the Ernie bot will be available to the general public for a hands-on experience like the Bing chatbot.
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