The giant Chinese technology company Baidu released the answer to ChatGPT

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As expected, Ernie Bot (the name means “enhanced representation from knowledge integration”, its Chinese name is 文心一言, or Wenxin Yiyan) works particularly well on tasks specific to Chinese culture, such as explaining historical facts or writing traditional poetry. (Li says that as a Chinese company, Baidu should “perform better than pre-trained LLMs” in terms of understanding Chinese.)

But the highlight of the product release was the multimodal output feature of Ernie Bot, which ChatGPT and GPT-4 do not provide (OpenAI claims that GPT-4 has the ability to analyze photos of fridge contents and provide recipe suggestions, but the model only generates text). Li showed a recorded interaction with a bot that depicted a futuristic urban transportation system, used a Chinese accent to read text responses, and edited a video based on the same text. However, in post-launch testing, a Chinese publication was unable to reproduce the video generation.

The Chinese people are hungry for a ChatGPT alternative; Both OpenAI and the Chinese government have banned individuals in China from using the US chatbot.

But so far, Ernie Bot has only been made available to a very select pool of Chinese developers. Companies can apply for API access. Baidu, however, did not say whether the technology would be available to consumers. It’s also unclear when the bot will integrate with Baidu’s other products, such as its search engine or self-driving cars, as the company has promised.

Compared to the ChatGPT and GPT-4 releases, Ernie Bot’s release felt rushed. The presentation did not feature any live performances, but instead used five pre-recorded sessions. Lee reiterated that Ernie is still imperfect and will be improved once it reaches more users. Baidu’s stock price plunged 6.4% on Thursday, and social media was filled with sad reactions.

Lee seemed prepared for such a response. “People have been asking me for a while, why are you getting divorced? [Ernie Bot] soon? Are you ready for it? He said. “From what I’ve personally seen doing internal tests on the Ernie bot, it’s not perfect. But why do we want to leave today? Because the market demands it.

Race to be the first

A few ChatGPT-style bots have been released by Chinese companies or researchers, but none have shown satisfactory results. MOSS, an English-language chatbot developed by researchers at Fudan University in Shanghai, was in such high demand that its server crashed within a day of its launch in late February. He has yet to return. Minimax, a Chinese startup, released a chatbot called Inspo earlier this month, but it’s suspected that it’s just a refactoring of the GPT-3.5 model developed by OpenAI.

Many people expected Baidu to be the first Chinese company to go head-to-head with ChatGPIT. In the year In 2019, Baidu released GPT-3 equivalent—Erni 3.0. It also released a nice text-to-image model last year called Ernie-VLG.

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