China’s Baidu Reveals New Version of Ernie, Claims To Be in Same League With GPT-4

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On Tuesday, October 17, Chinese search engine and artificial intelligence firm Baidu revealed a new version of its AI model, Ernie 4.0. Baidu’s CEO Robin Li showcased Ernie 4.0 at the company’s annual Baidu World conference in Beijing. He posed questions on topics like buying property, posed math problems, and asked it to write a novel based on the world of ancient martial arts. He added that the model has achieved comprehension, reasoning, memory, and generation which uses algorithms to generate new content.
Li also mentioned that Ernie 4.0 has the ability to understand complex instructions and questions and it applies logic and reasoning to provide answers. When stating the latest model, he said, “It is not inferior in any aspect to GPT-4. Significantly improved compared to its original Ernie Bot model.”

Baidu’s Future Plan for the AI Model

Baidu is amongst the competitors in the AI race, racing to come up with artificial intelligence models. This is after OpenAI’s ChatGPT was introduced last year and people were hooked to it. China sees AI as a potential industry to rival the US and aims to become a global leader by 2030.
Baidu began its journey as a search engine firm and over the last few years has invested significantly in AI technology such as autonomous driving and now, generative AI to meet the competition.
It introduced Ernie Bot in March and made it available to the public in August 2023. Ernie 4.0 is not available to the public yet but some people are invited to try it. Also, following the announcement of Baidu’s share price fell 1.7% which is a bit unexpected.
Li also mentioned that the company plans to incorporate AI into its search engine, maps, and cloud drive services, and its business intelligence services for enterprise customers. However, he did not mention the timeline or any other information for the same.

Final Thoughts

Baidu is trying to compete with US tech giants like Google’s AI Chatbot Bard and Microsoft’s Dall-E 3. However, US sanctions on China’s access to advanced chips to train the AI models along with Beijing’s stringent censorship can create issues for them. They also have domestic rivals like ByteDance Ltd and Tencent to make things difficult for them.
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