Two months following the global explosion of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, a conversational AI system that automatically generates content based on the text entered by the user, Chinese tech behemoth Baidu has reportedly begun prepping to launch its own artificial intelligence-powered chatbot in March 2023.
According to a Bloomberg source, the system will be constructed with China’s “ERNIE” natural language processor – otherwise known as the Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration. The application will initially begin as a standalone application before being embedded into Baidu’s internet search services. Users will be able to get conversation-style search results in a similar fashion to ChatGPT.
The announcement made sonic waves on the Chinese social media platform Weibo. As of January 30, the hashtag “Baidu will launch artificial intelligence tools similar to ChatGPT” soared to nearly 100 million views and garnered over 21,000 discussion mentions. Given that all ChatGPT-related programmes were removed from Wechat in December 2022, many netizens expressed both curiosity and excitement for the arrival of the AI system on their home turf.
For years, Baidu has been investing heavily in AI technology, from cloud services to chips and autonomous driving, but has yet to launch a star product. By integrating this new feature into its search engine system, not only will the Beijing-based tech company be able to further diversify its revenue sources but it could perhaps be China’s first strong contender in the world’s burgeoning AI race.