Baidu Introduces ERNIE Bot, Its ChatGPT Rival | Engadget

Baidu, the Chinese search engine giant, has unveiled its response to OpenAI’s ChatGPT service. It is the latest version of the company’s ERNIE (Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration) Bot that it has been developing for the past decade and was first launched in 2019. At a press event, Baidu CEO Robin Li said that this version of the ERNIE Bot has capabilities close to GPT-4, the latest iteration of the OpenAI Large Language Model released just a couple of days ago.

Apparently the chatbot has 550 billion pieces of data in its knowledge graph, but they are mainly focused on the Chinese market. So while it will be able to list the Chinese idioms for you, it may not be able to answer as many questions on certain topics outside of the region. However, ERNIE Bot has the ability to reply to a user with audio responses in different Chinese dialects, and can also generate images and videos from Chinese text.

During its demo at the event, the chatbot was able to summarize a Chinese science fiction novel and give suggestions on how to continue writing the book if it were to be expanded. He was also able to name the actors in his film adaptation, compare their heights, and conclude who was taller between the two. In another demo, he was able to suggest names for a high-tech services company that caters to small and medium-sized businesses, write slogans, and even generate a newsletter with a specified number of words.

Li said that 650 companies have already signed up to use ERNIE Bot’s technology, but he also admitted that it is not ready for a public debut. Baidu has simply introduced it before due to market demand sparked by the meteoric rise in popularity of ChatGPT. For now, the Chinese tech giant will only grant access to those who have already received invites, though more companies may request the ability to integrate the chatbot into their products via Baidu’s cloud platform.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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