Hard on the heels of the hugely popular launch of the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot, ChatGPT, several prominent Chinese tech giants, including Baidu and Alibaba, have opted to release their own AI-powered chatbots.
Open AI’s Chat Generative Pre-Trained Transformer (ChatGPT) has rapidly become one of the most popular features on the internet since its launch in November 2022.
Simply put, the tool was designed to assist in language and learning tasks, such as summarising large quantities of information or generating detailed reports and responses from user prompts.
ChatGPT’s monthly users nearly doubled from December 2022 (57 million) to January 2023 (>100 million), making it one of the fastest-growing apps of all time, according to a report released by Swiss banking entity, UBS.
For comparison’s sake, the uber-popular short-form social media app, TikTok, took nine months to reach the 100 million user milestone, while Meta-owned, Instagram, took a relatively laborious 30 months to hit the same mark.
Tech giant, Baidu, was the first to launch a similar ChatGPT-style web tool, ERNIE (Enhanced Representation Through Knowledge Integration) or ‘Wenxin Yiyan’, a move that saw its share price jump a staggering 14% in February.
Developed off the back of Baidu’s 2019 language model, BIDU, ERNIE is one of many projects under development at Baidu, as the Beijing-based search engine seeks to broaden its services from online marketing to more advanced technologies such as AI.
ERNIE is undergoing its third revision and is now capable of more advanced tasks, including poetry composition and generating unique graphics from user text prompts, according to tech publication, Interesting Engineering.
As per a Bloomberg report, Baidu intends to incorporate the popular technology into its search engine. An English version of the ERNIE bot will be made available to the public in March 2023.
Not content with being left behind, fellow big-tech giant, Alibaba, recently shared it would join the chatbot race in February 2023.
The Jack Ma-owned ecommerce firm told CNN it was testing an AI-powered chatbot internally but remained tight-lipped on a name for the project as well as a potential launch date.
The company has focused on “frontier technologies” like large language models and generative AI since they formed the Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook (DAMO) Academy in 2017, said a Alibaba spokesperson.
Like Baidu, Alibaba’s share price enjoyed a healthy 1.4 per cent bump after it made its project known to the public.