ERNIE Bot, developed by Baidu, is China’s first domestically created Artificial Intelligence platform. It aims to challenge the United States’ leading position in the AI race. Baidu unveiled ERNIE in March 2023, initially granting access to a select group of individuals for trial purposes. Currently, ERNIE is exclusively available in China, with no global release announced yet.
China has prioritized the development of AI to establish global leadership in this field. Baidu is among the first companies to release an AI product to the Chinese public. Additionally, five other Chinese companies reportedly have approval to launch their own AI products.
ERNIE, which stands for “Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration,” is an interactive chatbot designed to answer queries, perform documentation tasks, and provide analysis. It shares similarities with other interactive AIs like ChatGPT and Bard. ERNIE also possesses the capability to generate images and videos from text prompts, similar to Stable Diffusion, Mid-Journey, and OpenAI’s Dall-E.
In a competition against the well-known GPT-4 language model, Baidu claims that ERNIE 3.5 outperformed its American counterpart in comprehensive ability and Chinese language capabilities.
Baidu allows third-party plugin compatibility with ERNIE, enabling users to customize their experience. The company has also announced the upcoming launch of other AI-related products, which will be released gradually. Currently, access to ERNIE is available through a whitelist program, granting users gradual access to the chatbot.
China places high importance on protecting the privacy of its citizens, leading to the unavailability of global AI platforms like ChatGPT within the country. With the introduction of ERNIE, China now possesses a powerful AI platform that can rival ChatGPT.
Apart from Baidu, other tech giants like Tencent and SenseTime have also received approval from the Chinese government for their AI initiatives. SenseTime has launched its own AI product called SenseChat, which is a ChatGPT-style platform accompanied by a range of AI products.
China recognizes the need for AI regulations and has implemented policies to govern AI-related products. These stringent policies ensure that companies must obtain necessary permissions before releasing their products to the public.