On Thursday, Baidu, the popular Chinese search engine, unveiled its AI-powered chatbot, ERNIE Bot. Robin Li, the founder of the company, showcased the bot’s capabilities through numerous pre-recorded videos.
The chatbot service remains invitation-only, however, Baidu has declared that its cloud computing division will start providing application programming interfaces (APIs) to its business clients. Despite 30,000 corporate users applying for ERNIE Bot Enterprise Edition API testing within an hour of the launch, Baidu did not provide a specific timeline for making the ERNIE Bot service publicly accessible.
According to Technode, the launch is the first after Beijing approved new AI governance.
“The approval comes two weeks after China’s new AI rules took effect, paving the way for an initial eight companies to cater their generative AI services to over 1 billion Chinese internet users. For China’s dozens of homegrown AI large language models, being among the first to launch could potentially bring early player advantages, given the relatively small distinctions between each consumer-facing service.”
Other approved corporations who are anticipated to roll out GPT-like applications include ByteDance, SenseTime, Huawei and Tencent, among others.
ERNIE Bot is built on Baidu’s deep-learning model, ERNIE (released in 2019), and currently has 650 businesses registered as ecosystem partners who will receive priority access.