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Baidu Unveils AI Applications after Securing Public Approval for Its ChatGPT Rival

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Baidu launched its AI applications using Ernie large language model. The AI assistant can search documents, summarize and translate text, and create content.

On Tuesday, September 5, Chinese tech giant Baidu unveiled more than 10 AI-based applications after its ChatGPT-rival Ernie bot got a nod for public use.

During the product presentations, one noteworthy reveal was the introduction of WPS AI, a word-processing application integrated with generative AI. Kingsoft Office, a company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, has developed this app. The company leveraged the same AI model that powers Baidu’s Ernie bot, in addition to harnessing Baidu’s “Qianfan” cloud platform for AI models in the development process, as detailed in a press release.

As of now, more than 10,000 businesses have been actively using Baidu’s Qianfan cloud platform every month. Furthermore, the Chinese tech giant announced that over 6 million users have used its AI-powered tool which sits inside its Google Drive-like cloud product. Baidu claims that this AI assistant can search documents, summarize and translate text, and create content.

During Tuesday’s event, Baidu also showcased generative AI-driven products designed to potentially aid in tasks such as traffic management, financial research, and coal mine logistics. However, it remains unclear to what extent these products are currently accessible for public use.

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On August 31st, Baidu officially made its Ernie chatbot accessible to the public, indicating government approval for this AI-powered conversational tool. This move coincided with the release of similar AI products by other Chinese companies during the same period.

Remarkably, within just a few hours of its public launch, the Ernie AI chatbot soared to the top spot among applications available on Apple’s app store in China. Ernie, short for Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration, is powered by the extensive ERNIE large language model. This bot possesses the capability to generate diverse types of media, including images, text, audio, and video based on provided text prompts. Moreover, this innovative technology can produce voice output in various dialects.

Baidu initially unveiled the Ernie chatbot back in March, restricting access to business partners and individuals who had to enroll on a waitlist to use it. However, a new set of Chinese regulations that came into force on August 15th stipulated that these “interim” rules would not be applicable to companies developing AI technology as long as the product was not accessible to the general public.

OpenAI’s ChatGPT is not officially available in China. It faces a similar ban to Google and Facebook.

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Bhushan Akolkar

Bhushan is a FinTech enthusiast and holds a good flair in understanding financial markets. His interest in economics and finance draw his attention towards the new emerging Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrency markets. He is continuously in a learning process and keeps himself motivated by sharing his acquired knowledge. In free time he reads thriller fictions novels and sometimes explore his culinary skills.

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