The bot is not perfect yet, but it is being released now due to market demand, CEO Robin Li said at a press conference in Beijing.
However, the Ernie Bot presentation was apparently not quite to the investors’ liking, as Baidu’s Hong Kong-listed shares fell 10 percentwhile the company manager demonstrated how the bot answers questions and writes poetry, among other things.
So far, 650 companies have indicated they want to join the Ernie ecosystem, Li added. Chinese state media and a Shaolin Temple were among the first to partner with Ernie Bot.
The popularity of Microsoft-backed ChatGPT has sparked a mad rush among Chinese tech giants and startups alike to out-compete their rivals.
Baidu jumped ahead of the competition after announcing early last month that it was close to building a chatbot that uses its artificial intelligence-driven deep learning model, Ernie – which stands for “Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration”.
The company cited years of heavy R&D investment in artificial intelligence and deep learning as one of the reasons it has now developed the Ernie Bot. Baidu’s R&D spending in 2022 was 21.4 billion yuan, accounting for 22 percent of revenue.
Baidu plans to use Ernie Bot to revolutionize its search engine, by far the most dominant in China, and use it to boost efficiency in the cloud, smart cars and home appliances, among other mainstream businesses.
The press event about the presentation can be seen in the video below:
Cover image: Getty Images