Chinese search giant Baidu Inc. intends to launch its own ChatGPT-like artificial intelligence bot that will be able to understand and respond in conversational language to users, according to a report from Bloomberg.

ChatGPT developed by OpenAI LLC operates as a large language model AI that can understand and answer complex natural language questions in a conversational way that sounds very human to users. It allows them to ask questions naturally and respond in a manner that feels as if they’re speaking to another person. It has been used to develop bots that can provide customer service, create code, and even write articles (although these have been error-prone).

Baidu has been working for years to develop its own AI-based system based on a machine-learning model that can operate within its own markets called Ernie, which its own ChatGPT rival will use. This is necessary because the Chinese internet is highly censored and access to ChatGPT itself is blocked, meaning that consumers and businesses cannot use it inside the country.

Ernie is trained in both Chinese and English-language sources both inside and outside of China’s “great firewall.” China has trained Ernie using sources including Wikipedia, BookCorpus, Reddit and Baidu’s own product ecosystem, such as Baidu Baike and Baidu News, according to the company’s own research papers, in order to make it as comprehensive as possible for its users. Of course, the company will also limit the bot according to the rules and regulations of China’s censorship laws.

In spite of being blocked off from the rest of the internet, the Chinese public has still jumped on the ChatGPT bandwagon, sought out conversations with the AI chatbot and posted screenshots of their experiences on local social media.

Since its debut, ChatGPT has been generating a great deal of buzz on the internet, especially given its potential capabilities and business opportunities. Some businesses have feared being left behind on the AI technology curve if they fail to adopt it.

Microsoft reportedly held talks to invest $10 billion in OpenAI and also intends to bring a ChatGPT-powered search feature to its search engine Bing. Shares in BuzzFeed Inc. jumped as much as 150% after the digital media company announced that it intended to use the tool to produce more content using the tool.

Baidu Chief Executive Robin Li said that ChatGPT and conversational AI technologies represented a new future that was changing the landscape of business, during an internal employee meeting seen by Bloomberg.

“I’m so glad that the technology we are pondering every day can attract so many people’s attention. That’s not easy,” he said.

Image: Pixabay

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