Science & Technology

Baidu Launches Ernie 4.0

The founder of Baidu, Robin Li, said that the artificial intelligence model developed by his company, in terms of the quality of work and the level of efficiency, equaled the characteristics and capabilities of GPT-4 from OpenAI.

Baidu Launches Ernie 4.0

Currently, the machine intelligence configuration created by the mentioned brand claims to become the leader of the so-called AI race in China. Baidu also strives to fully compete with digital thinking systems developed by companies based in the United States.

Robin Li on Tuesday, October 17, in Beijing presented a new version of a chatbot created by specialists of his brand. This development was called Ernie 4.0. During the presentation of the new version of the chatbot in the format of questions formulated by the human mind and answers generated by virtual thinking trained based on huge amounts of data, the ability of the mentioned digital product to qualitatively process user requests and cope with complex tasks in the shortest possible time was demonstrated.

The founder of Baidu, during a speech at the steel mill, which became the venue for the presentation of Ernie 4.0, said that this form of machine intelligence, focused on the simplest possible user interaction, in terms of complexity and overall capabilities, equaled with the OpenAI’s chatbot, which is currently the world’s most popular digital development of the corresponding category. Probably, in this case, the concept of complexity means the ability to process consumers’ requests involving non-trivial intellectual tasks.

Currently, the number of Ernie users is more than 45 million people. The ChatGPT from the OpenAI client base is approximately 180 million people. An important circumstance in this context of comparing two digital products is that the American development was launched a few months earlier.

Baidu, which is currently the leader of the Chinese Internet search systems and has a kind of unspoken status of a local analog of Google, perceives and evaluates artificial intelligence as a some platform for its growth. The company expects that developments based on advanced technology will allow it to surpass competitors from Alibaba Group Holding to Tencent Holdings, which control a smaller part of China’s digital space, where there is no dominance of Robin Li’s brand.

The presentation of the new version of the chatbot did not affect the value of Baidu shares, which on Tuesday showed a decrease of 1.5%.

Robin Li’s company is currently the main Chinese investor in the sphere of artificial intelligence. Some experts characterize the intensity and scale of financial injections into the development of advanced technology in this Asian country as so significant that they conditionally designate it as aggressive. This process is led by Robin Li’s company. Chinese investors paid special attention to machine intelligence after ChatGPT demonstrated by its example the impressive potential of generative AI capable of transforming entire industries. Also, a chatbot created by an American company has proven the ability of artificial intelligence to create video materials and other content using elementary commands.

Baidu demonstrates the highest level of activity among other Chinese technology firms and many local startups in the competition for the creation of a new generation virtual ecosystem with embedded AI for the world’s largest Internet market.

Companies from the mentioned Asian country are striving to create digital products that are equal in capabilities to developments from Microsoft, Google, and other industry giants. These efforts are complicated by Washington’s sanctions against Beijing, which restrict Chinese firms’ access to advanced chips needed to train and run machine intelligence models. Experts also say that in this case, the measures imposed by the United States are not the only negative circumstance. According to them, all sorts of censorship restrictions by Beijing cloud the prospects of Chinese companies working in the sphere of machine intelligence. This factor, combined with restrictions on the supply of advanced microcircuits to China imposed by Washington, creates a kind of situation of uncertainty about the future of local firms. At the same time, do not forget that the authorities of the Asian country provide support to technology companies. The situation is uncertain but is not the most hopeless.

Robin Li, during the presentation of Ernie 4.0, repeatedly mentioned that the new version of the chatbot from Baidu is in no way inferior to GPT-4 in terms of capabilities. Experts note that it is not easy to give an evaluation characteristics of artificial intelligence configurations because of the complexity of these developments.

The founder of Baidu tested the new version of Ernie in real time. He voiced queries to the chatbot about the acquisition of real estate, posed mathematical problems, and asked him to write a novel set in the world of ancient martial arts. This demonstration of capabilities in terms of the degree of complexity of the content of the requests being processed contrasts sharply with the March presentation of the Chinese AI configuration, which was factually a scenario event.

In June, Baidu stated that the then version of Ernie surpassed the GPT-3.5-based OpenAI chatbot in terms of capabilities. At the same time, the company claimed that its development surpassed GPT-4 in terms of functionality in Chinese, confirmed by the results of testing conducted by a local newspaper.

Baidu believes that in the foreseeable future, Ernie Bot will be included in the list of the main directions of its business, which already includes online marketing. The company believes that the chatbot will help bring back customers who have stopped interacting with the brand due to the universal apps offered by TikTok ByteDance and Tencent.

Robin Li’s firm has implemented a new AI technology in its digital products such as an Internet search system, maps, data analytics, file sharing, and collaboration.

Baidu also benefits from government support for the technology sector in the aspect of artificial intelligence-based developments. Beijing’s actions are logical and appropriate since AI can transform industries and improve the state of the world’s second-largest economy, which is facing serious difficulties in the recovery process after the coronavirus pandemic and is under pressure amid a tense geopolitical situation and a downturn in many markets.

In August, Beijing approved the launch of China’s first generative artificial intelligence systems for internal use. The list of AI configurations allowed for apply includes products of major players, including Baidu and ByteDance, and firms that are at the initial stage of existence.

Ernie Bot at some point topped the download rating in the Chinese apps store for iPhone, exceeding one million users on the day of launch. Soon this chatbot was overtaken by services such as WeChat from Tencent.

As we have reported earlier, Baidu Creates $140 Million Fund to Back ChatGPT-Like Startups.

Serhii Mikhailov

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Serhii’s track record of study and work spans six years at the Faculty of Philology and eight years in the media, during which he has developed a deep understanding of various aspects of the industry and honed his writing skills; his areas of expertise include fintech, payments, cryptocurrency, and financial services, and he is constantly keeping a close eye on the latest developments and innovations in these fields, as he believes that they will have a significant impact on the future direction of the economy as a whole.