China’s Baidu launches ERNIE to compete with ChatGPT

China’s Baidu launches ERNIE to compete with ChatGPT

As the launch of ChatGPT took the world by storm, tech giants from all around the world rushed to make their own versions of the bot. China’s Baidu being one of them, launched its own rival of the bot named ERNIE. Baidu unveiled the bot on Thursday. The company claims that it is a generative AI product based on a new-generation language model. The bot is built on Baidu’s in-house models, namely Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration (ERNIE) and Pre-trained Dialogue Generation Model (PLATO). Since its initial release in 2019, ERNIE has evolved from a natural language model to a multi-modal platform with cross-industry and cross-task capabilities. The bot has demonstrated its proficiency in various use cases such as literary creation, mathematical calculation, business writing, Chinese language understanding, and multi-modal generation. Baidu claims that the bot can understand human intentions and provide human-like and fluent logical responses.

Baidu’s Chief Executive Robin Li stated that multi-modality is undeniably a future trend for generative AI. “In the future, as we continue to refine Baidu’s unified multi-modal large model, ERNIE Bot’s multi-modal generation capabilities will advance,” he said during the launch of the bot. Baidu stands out among AI companies by offering a complete AI stack, which indicates that ERNIE has the potential for additional use cases in the future, including integration with Baidu’s smart devices, autonomous driving, and AI cloud. Access to the ERNIE Bot has been limited to invited users by the company. Moreover, enterprise clients will be able to obtain their API through Baidu AI Cloud by submitting applications. The bot has not been released to the general public, as its use of pre-recorded videos did not generate a positive response from investors, the company witnessed a significant decline in its stock value on Thursday.

While the world can’t stop pitting Baidu’s ERNIE against OpenAI’s ChatGPT and GPT-4, Li concluded the launch by clarifying his stance on the subject. He emphasized the bot being a peaceful technology while adding, “I want to make it clear that ERNIE bot is not intended for use in the Sino-US technology conflict. Rather, it represents the aspirations of technology developers. We envision it as a platform that can empower industries, clients, and users alike. ERNIE is a testament to innovation-driven development”. 

While OpenAI demonstrated the bot live, ERNIE’s capabilities were restricted to slides. Considering this fact and the lack of knowledge about the rest of its features, ERNIE’s launch largely faced disappointment on a global level. Therefore, it is too soon to conclude if it can actually be a rival to OpenAI’s bots. However, the idea of Artificial Intelligence taking over the world is being turned into reality, most definitely now than ever. 



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