Chinese tech giant Baidu launching ChatGPT-style AI bot

(AP Photo/Peter Morgan, File)
FILE – A ChatGPT prompt is shown on a device near a public school in Brooklyn, New York, Jan. 5, 2023. A popular online chatbot powered by artificial intelligence is proving to be adept at creating disinformation and propaganda. When researchers asked the online AI chatbot ChatGPT to compose a blog post, news story or essay making the case for a widely debunked claim — that COVID-19 vaccines are unsafe, for example — the site often complied, with results that were regularly indistinguishable from similar claims that have bedeviled online content moderators for years.

The Chinese tech giant Baidu announced Tuesday that it is developing an AI bot as the program ChatGPT increasingly gains popularity. 

Baidu said in a tweet that it is creating an AI chatbot project called ERNIE Bot, which was first proposed as a language model in 2019. The program was capable of understanding 96 languages as of January 2021, according to a timeline of milestones for ERNIE included in the post. 

The tweet did not state the expected release date for the program but said the public should stay tuned for further updates. 

Baidu’s announcement comes after Google announced its own AI chatbot called Bard to rival ChatGPT. The program, which can provide highly detailed answers to inquiries from users, will become more widely available to the public in the “coming weeks.” 

NBC News reported that shares for Baidu rose more than 15 percent on Tuesday, the best day for the stock in almost a year, and other Chinese AI stocks also rose. 

Microsoft announced last month that it is investing billions of dollars into OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, as part of a partnership between the two companies. 

ChatGPT has faced controversy over its use in schools with the potential for students to use the tool as a cheating mechanism. Some schools and universities have taken steps toward banning the use of the tool to prevent any negative impacts to students’ learning.

Tags AI chatbot Artificial Intelligence Baidu Bard ChatGPT ERNIE Bot

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