Baidu shares hit 8-week low once firm reveals ChatGPT competitor

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  • Chinese tech company Baidu on Thursday gave the public a sneak preview of what its ChatGPT substitute can do while cautioning about its flaws. Baidu CEO Robin Li noted the company’s product, called Ernie bot, is not flawless at a livestreamed unveiling ceremony. With an overall decline for Asian stocks, shares dropped by about 6.4% in Hong Kong, posting their lowest closing since January 19. Li underlined that by allowing people to provide comments, the product would improve.

For its 650 ecosystem business partners, which include some media companies, banks, and automakers, Baidu is prioritizing first Ernie bot access. Users of Baidu’s AI cloud, which has a sizable enterprise cloud business, can request access to the application programming interface for the Ernie bot.

Baidu reported that 30,000 business clients have signed up for the waitlist to use the chatbot within an hour of the Ernie bot launch. The general public, and other media did not have rapid access.

Last week, Microsoft-backed OpenAI unveiled GPT-4, the most recent iteration of the artificial intelligence technology powering its hugely successful ChatGPT chatbot. The bot was initially made available to the public for free in November, but those that want access to GPT-4 features must pay $20 per month.

Li from Baidu claimed the Ernie bot wasn’t ideal and may experience similar problems if employed frequently. Yet he pointed out that 550 billion facts were used to train the model.

ChatGPT may communicate in a human-like manner and provide anything from commercial offers to summaries of content. People have to sign up for a waitlist to experience Microsoft’s Bing AI chatbot, which launched last month and incorporates OpenAI technology, even though ChatGPT is open to everyone who can create an account. Some people described having a spooky experience.

According to Li, who spoke in Chinese and was translated by CNBC, Baidu’s goal is to “transform the world with technology,” not to spotlight tensions between the U.S. and China. Shares of Baidu that are traded in Hong Kong are still up 12% for the year. Microsoft’s Class A shares have increased by almost 11% so far this year, while Alphabet, the parent company of Google, have increased by around 9%.

Li stated that the business also intended to leverage AI technology for content production. One of the main video streaming websites in China, iQiyi, is supported by Baidu. It wasn’t immediately obvious how ChatGPT’s AI capabilities and Baidu’s Ernie bot compared to one another. Last week, OpenAI claimed that its GPT-4 could outperform 90% of humans on the SAT, a test used to determine entrance to US colleges.

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