In a recent event held in Beijing, the founder of a tech giant declared a major breakthrough in the field of artificial intelligence. He confidently claimed that his company’s language model has finally surpassed the advanced GPT-4 from a renowned US organization. This breakthrough allows his country to assert its position as a serious competitor in the global race to develop cutting-edge AI technology.
The tech mogul took the stage to showcase the remarkable capabilities of his company’s language model, Ernie 4.0. With impressive real-time demonstrations, he revealed how Ernie can provide answers to complex questions and solve intricate puzzles on the spot. The event, held at a converted steel mill, was packed with enthusiastic attendees eager to witness this monumental achievement.
While Ernie has already garnered an impressive user base of over 45 million, it still lags behind its American counterpart, which boasts approximately 180 million users. However, the Chinese search leader, often dubbed as the homegrown equivalent of Google, sees AI as the key to surpassing its rivals in various sectors of the internet, including giants like Alibaba and Tencent. Despite the optimism surrounding Baidu’s AI advancements, the company’s shares experienced a slight dip of about 1.5% on Tuesday.
Baidu is at the forefront of aggressive investment initiatives throughout China, spurred by the disruptive potential of generative AI showcased by ChatGPT. This technology enables the creation of videos and content based on simple commands. Baidu’s ambition is to pioneer a next-generation platform in the world’s largest internet market, competing against both established tech firms and countless startups.
However, Chinese companies face challenges in their pursuit of AI supremacy. US sanctions on access to advanced chips required for training and running AI models, combined with China’s strict censorship policies, create a sense of uncertainty. The tightening restrictions on AI chip exports from the US to China amplify these concerns.
Despite the hurdles, the founder of Baidu assured the audience that Ernie is on par with GPT-4 from OpenAI, emphasizing its superiority. Assessing the capabilities of AI models can be complex due to the sheer intricacy involved, but the tech mogul conducted real-time tests to showcase Ernie’s proficiency. From querying about property purchases to solving math problems and even requesting the creation of a novel set in the ancient world of martial arts, Ernie proved its mettle. This live demonstration marked a significant departure from its initial unveiling through a scripted video earlier this year.
This is not the first time Baidu has surpassed OpenAI’s offerings. Back in June, an earlier version of Ernie outperformed OpenAI’s chatbot built on GPT-3.5 in terms of general abilities. Additionally, it demonstrated superior Chinese-language capabilities compared to GPT-4 in a test conducted by a local state newspaper. Baidu now hopes that Ernie Bot will become a core aspect of its business, alongside online marketing, as it seeks to win back users who have gravitated towards all-purpose apps provided by behemoths like ByteDance and Tencent.
Baidu has seamlessly integrated Ernie into its flagship products, including search, maps, file-sharing, work collaboration, and data analytics. The company, like other domestic players, enjoys the support and recognition of the Chinese government, which is keen on harnessing the potential of this transformative technology to revitalize the economy.
China has even taken steps to endorse generative AI services by approving their domestic release. This approval includes products from burgeoning startups as well as major tech names like Baidu and ByteDance. Once released, Ernie Bot quickly climbed the download charts on China’s iPhone app store, surpassing one million users on launch day. However, it faced tough competition from established services such as Tencent’s WeChat.
So, with Ernie as its flagship AI product, Baidu is making significant strides in the realm of artificial intelligence. This achievement serves as a testament to China’s commitment to excellence in the tech industry and its determination to establish a leading position on the global stage. Only time will tell how these advancements will reshape the future of technology and our interconnected world.