The Chinese tech giant Baidu has officially challenged GPT-4. On Tuesday, they introduced ERNIE 4.0, the latest version of their AI chatbot, which they directly compared to OpenAI’s latest ChatGPT iteration.
Baidu’s billionaire CEO, Robin Li, assured the audience at the company’s annual flagship event that the new ERNIE Bot is as capable as GPT-4 in every aspect.
Baidu Claims That its AI is on Par with GPT-4
During his presentation, Li showcased the bot’s ability to swiftly produce a car commercial, solve intricate math problems, and even craft a martial arts novel plot from scratch. The primary language of the bot is Mandarin Chinese, although it can handle queries and generate responses in English at a somewhat less advanced level.
Li pointed out that these demonstrations highlighted significant improvements in the bot’s ability to understand queries, create complex responses, and enhance its memory capabilities.
Li mentioned that when brainstorming ideas for the novel, the bot could recall past instructions and generate intricate storylines by introducing conflicts and characters.
He humorously remarked, “We used to gripe that AI lacked intelligence,” and continued, “But now, it comprehends nearly everything you say, and in many instances, it understands your words better than your friends or coworkers.
The Moment for China
Charlie Dai, Forrester’s Vice President and Research Director of Technology, stated that Baidu is the first company in China to assert that it can match GPT-4’s performance.
Dai mentioned, “We still require additional benchmarking evidence to substantiate this, but I’m cautiously optimistic that this is China’s GPT-4 moment, considering its substantial long-term investment in AI and machine learning.
Unlike a prerecorded presentation in March that didn’t impress investors, Li showcased the bot in real time.
However, investors seemed unimpressed, as Baidu’s shares in Hong Kong fell by 1.4% after the presentation.
Baidu (BIDU) has been a leading player in China’s pursuit to leverage the enthusiasm for generative AI, which is the foundation for systems like ChatGPT and its successor, GPT-4
The company, based in Beijing, introduced ERNIE Bot in March and later made it available to the public in August.
The latest version will initially be released to invited users, as mentioned by Li. However, the company didn’t specify a public release date.
ERNIE Bot has seen rapid adoption, amassing over 45 million users and reaching the top of Chinese app stores at one point, according to the company. In comparison, ChatGPT, released in November, attracted over 100 million users in its first two months, as reported in a March analysis by Goldman Sachs analysts.
Baidu encounters competition in China from companies like Alibaba (BABA) and SenseTime, both of which have introduced their ChatGPT-style tools.
Baidu asserts that its service distinguishes itself through its adept understanding of Chinese queries and its capability to produce various response types, including video and audio.
In contrast, GPT-4, developed by OpenAI, can analyze photos but presently generates only text responses.
Dai stated that Baidu is a dominant player in the Chinese market.
However, he pointed out that the competition in this sector has only just started, and other AI technology leaders such as Alibaba, Huawei, JD Cloud, SenseTime, and Tencent all have opportunities to lead.
Baidu Highlighted How ERNIE Could Surpass Chat GPT
Critics argue that the new products from Chinese companies may intensify the existing rivalry between the United States and China in emerging technologies. Li has attempted to distance the company from this comparison, emphasizing that their platform is not intended for fueling confrontation between China and the United States.
Previously, Baidu highlighted how ERNIE could surpass ChatGPT in certain situations, claiming that its bot achieved higher scores than OpenAI’s on some academic exams.
The Chinese company also revealed on Tuesday that it had updated its suite of services to incorporate the latest enhancements from ERNIE. Now, Baidu’s popular search engine can provide more precise results using this tool, and its mobile mapping app enables users to book services like taxis, as explained by Li.
Dai pointed out that by doing this, “Baidu has become the first Chinese tech leader to significantly modernize the majority of its products” with an AI model.