According to Bloomberg‘s unnamed source, Baidu is planning to launch a standalone app, before eventually integrating it into its search engine.
There’s a lot we still don’t know about Baidu’s upcoming chatbot service, but given the over five percent rise in Baidu’s shares following Bloomberg‘s report late Sunday evening, there’s clearly plenty of appetite among investors for a Chinese ChatGPT alternative.
That makes sense, given the current frenzy. Tech companies like Google are desperately trying to catch up to OpenAI with its uber-popular chatbot. Last month, for instance, Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly declared “code red” over ChatGPT’s explosive rise in popularity.
SEARCHING FOR CONVERSATION
Baidu has already invested billions in AI research. Its existing machine-learning model called Ernie will reportedly provide the foundation for the upcoming tool, according to Bloomberg.
Chinese netizens are no strangers to chatbots, either, but many of these tools were built with social interaction — not generating college essays or code — in mind. AI chatbot Melissa, for instance, has provided a comforting presence to millions of lonely users in China.
But just like ChatGPT, Baidu’s still-unnamed chatbot will likely provide assistance with more professional tasks, according to Reuters, integrating generated text in its search results.
It’ll be interesting to watch what shape the chatbot will end up taking given China’s walled-off and heavily enforced internet landscape. It’s highly unlikely it’ll be trained on the same data OpenAI’s ChatGPT was trained on.
Whether that will make it more or less successful in the long run remains to be seen.
It certainly won’t be the only tool like ChatGPT in the country. According to Bloomberg, several Chinese startups are already looking to beat Baidu to the punch.