Ernie, the Chinese answer to GPT Chat, a fiasco

The Baidu search engine launched its chatbot. However, after the presentation it lost 3,000 million dollars in value on the Hong Kong stock market. The American company OpenAi, for its part, launches GPT-4, which is capable of artificially interpreting not only texts, but also images. The technological war with Washington threatens Xi Jinping’s plans.

Beijing () – Ernie Bot, the first Chinese response to Chat GPT, the chatbot developed by the American high-tech company OpenAI based on generative artificial intelligence, has been disappointing. Today, after its presentation, the Baidu Internet search engine that developed it lost 6.4% on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, burning 3,000 million dollars.

A chatbot is a chat capable of generating human-like responses to complex questions: it allows interaction with an artificial intelligence system, especially for text processing.

Investors were unimpressed with the pre-recorded videos showing Ernie Bot performing mathematical calculations, speaking Chinese dialects, and generating text-accompanied videos and images. In addition, the words of the CEO of Baidu, Robin Li, who admitted that the system was not perfect and that it had been presented because the market demanded it, made their weight felt.

The difference with the products offered by OpenAI is remarkable. On March 14, the American technology company (backed by Microsoft) announced that it had begun to commercialize a new, even more powerful artificial intelligence model. GPT-4 is described as a “multiple” system, capable of artificially interpreting not only text, but also images.

Until the Gpt Chat appeared in November, China was considered to be at the forefront of artificial intelligence development. Now, his American rivals seem to have a clear advantage. Even Li said he was impressed by the GPT-4’s capabilities, but stressed that Ernie Bot is not a tool of confrontation between China and the United States.

In addition to Baidu, the other Chinese tech giant Alibaba is also developing its own chatbot. Critics of Beijing’s efforts argue, however, that by being focused on censorship they will end up developing a distorted tool, far from Western standards.

Beijing’s investment in artificial intelligence is threatened by the technology war with the United States. By decision of the Biden administration, US companies in the sector need a government license to be able to sell machinery for the production of advanced chips – necessary in the field of artificial intelligence – to Chinese buyers. Under pressure from Washington, Japan and the Netherlands also restricted the export of this type of technology to China.

Xi Jinping has repeated on several occasions that Beijing must achieve technological self-sufficiency so as not to depend on foreign forces. Morris Chang, founder of Taiwanese chip giant TSMC, said today that the Chinese are five to six years behind Taiwan in developing next-generation microchips.

According to the Made in China 2025 plan initiated by Xi in 2015, by 2020 China had to reach the goal of producing 40% of the chips for domestic consumption, a percentage that would increase to 70% in the following two years: in 2021 the quota was around 16%.



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Written by Editor TLN

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