As interest in generative artificial intelligence (AI) continues to gain momentum, China’s Baidu Inc (9888. HK) announced on Tuesday that it would finish conducting internal testing of a ChatGPT-style project called “Ernie Bot” in the month of March.
The search engine giant’s shares that are listed in Hong Kong finished Tuesday’s trading session with a gain of 15.3%, while its shares that are traded in the United States saw an increase of 11.2% in morning trade.
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As a result of the global excitement surrounding the Microsoft-backed (MSFT.O) chatbot sensation ChatGPT, speculative wagers on the new technology surged, causing a flurry of Chinese artificial intelligence equities to surge as well.
ChatGPT, which can generate articles, essays, jokes, and even poetry in response to prompts, has been rated the consumer app with the fastest-growing user base in the history of the market just two months after it was initially released.
It has spurred several technology companies to redouble their efforts on the much-touted generative AI technology, which up until relatively recently resided more in the background than as a significant contributor to the bottom line.
Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), the parent company of Google, announced on Monday that it would launch a chatbot service and add more artificial intelligence to its search engine. Meanwhile, Microsoft plans to reveal its own AI on Tuesday, highlighting the growing competition between the two companies to lead a new wave of computing.
On Tuesday, Baidu, which is essentially the equivalent of Google in China, joined the frenzy.
It said Ernie, or “Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration,” is a large AI-powered language model that was introduced in 2019. It has gradually grown to be capable of performing tasks including language understanding, language generation, and text-to-image generation. Ernie was named after the acronym for “Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration.”
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A person with knowledge of the situation said to Reuters last week that Baidu was aiming to launch a service similar to this in the month of March.
The individual stated that Baidu’s goal is to make the service available as a separate application at first and then gradually include it in its search engine by adding chatbot-generated results whenever users make search requests.
Although ChatGPT and other essential Google services are not accessible in China, some users have discovered workarounds to gain access to these tools.
Baidu, with headquarters in Beijing, has frequently been among the first companies in China to implement new technological trends.
Late in 2021, during the time when the term “metaverse” was becoming increasingly popular, the business announced the debut of “XiRang,” which it referred to as China’s first metaverse platform.
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Despite widespread criticism that the platform does not provide a high-quality, immersive experience, Baidu has stated that the development of the product is still ongoing.
As the business seeks to diversify its sources of revenue, it has been making significant investments in artificial intelligence (AI) technology, including cloud services, chips, and autonomous driving.
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