China’s largest search company, Baidu, has announced the launch of an AI chatbot called Ernie Bot to challenge ChatGPT. The name stands for “Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration”, and the bot is designed to perform various tasks, including solving math problems, writing poetry, and creating images and videos.
According to Reuters, Baidu plans to incorporate Ernie Bot into its widely used search engine in China and other applications such as cloud computing, intelligent cars, and consumer electronics. The company has made Ernie Bot available to a select group of early users, who can access it with a special invite code.
However, the chatbot’s presentation was met with criticism as it was based on a few brief pre-recorded videos. The presentation included five videos of Ernie answering questions about the famous Chinese science fiction novel The Three Bodies, demonstrating its math skills, trying the Sichuan dialect, and creating conference posters from text prompts.
Baidu CEO Robin Li admitted that the AI chatbot was imperfect but announced its launch because “the market wants it.” After the announcement, Baidu’s Hong Kong-listed shares fell 10%.
Despite the criticism, Baidu’s move to integrate AI into its search engine and other services aligns with market trends and growing demand for AI-powered tools. Other tech giants like Google and Microsoft invest in AI to improve their software products.
Google recently announced a range of AI-powered tools for its email, collaboration, and cloud software products. Microsoft is also improving its Office suit and search engine, Bing, to meet the growing demand for AI. As more companies incorporate AI into their products and services, chatbots like Ernie Bot will likely become more common in the future.