Chinese giant Baidu officially launched its chatbot, Ernie Bot, after the government approved its application, alongside that of several other AI companies.
Ernie Bot is now available for download from app stores or Baidu’s website. Much like its main rival, ChatGPT, users can ask Ernie Bot questions or prompt it to help write market analysis, give marketing slogan ideas, and summarize documents. People need to log in to their Baidu accounts to use Ernie Bot, but it’s unclear if the platform is available globally. The Baidu app is available on US Android and iOS app stores but is only in Chinese.
Baidu did not respond to requests for more details about the bot.
Baidu also opened a plug-in market for Ernie Bot.
The company said in an emailed statement that, in addition to the Ernie Bot, it plans to launch “a suite of new AI-native apps that allow users to fully experience the four core abilities of generative AI: understanding, generation, reasoning, and memory.”
Baidu co-founder and CEO Robin Li noted in the same statement that the company will be able to collect “massive valuable, real-world human feedback” to improve its foundation model, also called Ernie, and bring more innovation to the Ernie Bot.
Other companies cleared by the Chinese government included SenseTime, Baichuan Intelligent Technology, Zhipu AI, and MiniMax.
Under China’s generative AI guidelines, companies must “adhere to core values of socialism,” and all training data for foundation models has to come from sources deemed legitimate by the government.