China’s Baidu has unveiled Ernie bot, a Chinese-language competitor to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, but warned the product is not perfect.
Shares in the company fell nearly 6.4% to their lowest point since January 19 off the back of the news, amid a wider fall for Asian stocks.
Baidu CEO Robin Li made the presentation during a live streamed event, and claimed the product would get better as users gave it feedback.
Access to Ernie bot will initially be prioritized for Baidu’s business partners, including media companies, banks, and car firms. The company said that 30,000 corporate clients had joined the waitlist for access to the service.
Li claimed the Baidu version was trained on a set of 550 billion facts, and will occasionally provide distorted or creepy information if used often enough.
Earlier this week, OpenAI announced GPT-4, the latest version of its AI engine, which powers the ChatGPT chatbot which went viral this year. The company offered access to the updated version for $20 a month.
ChatGPT has become so popular because it can take natural language requests and reply with information as if in a conversation. It’s also able to generate essays, programming code, and cover letters, among other things. Microsoft is a major investor in OpenAI, having pumped $10 billion into the company this year alone. The company was founded in 2015 by Sam Altman and released ChatGPT in late November. Five days after its release the ChatGPT tool crossed the 1 million user mark.
Microsoft has already used the technology to drastically improve its Bing search engine, and its thought AI-enabled chatbots will dominate the search engine market going forward. Google is expected to launch its own version of the product, Bard, in the coming weeks.