Chinese search engine giant Baidu is working on a ChatGPT-like bot service to embed in its search engine. Baidu’s CEO Robin Li believes that artificial intelligence tech has reached a tipping point and will produce “a generational revolution in the search experience,” China Star Market reported Monday, citing unnamed sources.
Why it matters: With its own deep-learning platform (PaddlePaddle) and large-scale pre-trained model (Wenxin or Ernie in English), Baidu is one of the few Chinese tech companies investing heavily in generative AI as the technology becomes more mainstream.
Led by Baidu’s mobile eco-business group as well as the technology platform group, the development of an AI-powered chatbot tool project started last December, but the gap between its current performance and ChatGPT is still obvious, a staff member from Baidu told local media outlet Caijing.
Details: ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot service debuted by OpenAI last November, is built on OpenAI’s large-language model GPT-3, and can output human-like responses in seconds. The aim is for Baidu’s version, which is using its large-scale model Ernie as a foundation, to do the same. Baidu’s upcoming chatbot is being trained with both Chinese and English sources, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Robin Li is confident that Baidu will be able to embed ChatGPT-like technology into its search engine, admitting that integration is more complicated than the chatbot technology itself, China Star Market wrote, citing a speech by Li given at an internal talk.
The implementation of a ChatGPT-style service embedded in search services still depends on Baidu’s subsequent research and development investments, a source close to the firm told the outlet.
For years, Baidu’s research expenses as a percentage of total revenue have remained at around 20%. The company also saw its new AI businesses account for an increasing share of its revenue in the last three years.
Baidu declined to comment on the chatbot service when reached by TechNode on Tuesday.
Context: Since launching in late 2022, ChatGPT quickly sparked wide discussion, attracting 1 million users in just five days, and pushing many tech companies to prepare for the revolutionary potential of artificial intelligence technology.
On Jan. 23, Microsoft announced it would offer a multi-year, multi-billion dollar investment in OpenAI, and plans to integrate ChatGPT into its own search engine, Bing.
Cheyenne Dong is a tech reporter now based in Shanghai. She covers e-commerce and retail, blockchain, and Web3. Connect with her via e-mail: cheyenne.dong[a]technode.com.
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