Chinese tech firm Baidu unveils AI chatbot to rival ChatGPT

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Baidu, the Chinese search giant, has launched its artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, Ernie Bot, which the firm claims can be used in a range of applications such as AI cloud, smart devices, autonomous driving and searches. The tool was unveiled in a pre-recorded video presentation by Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li, and was tasked with answering questions about a Chinese science-fiction novel called The Three-Body Problem, as well as using prompts to create an image. Investors were disappointed that the demonstration was prerecorded and did not represent the real-time live demonstration many had expected, causing shares to plunge. Li said Ernie Bot had not been perfected but said the company had gone ahead with the presentation because of high demand. Ernie Bot competes directly with OpenAI’s chatbot, ChatGPT, and several other Chinese firms also working on similar technology. Baidu has shifted its focus towards AI, working on autonomous driving technology and other AI applications, and in its 2022 fiscal year, the company said it had spent £2.8bn ($3.8bn) on research and development, equivalent to around a fifth of its revenue.

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