Baidu’s ERNIE Bot Generative AI Now Accessible to Public

Baidu, the Chinese tech behemoth, has made its generative AI, ERNIE Bot, available to the public via app stores and its website. ERNIE Bot, powered by the deep learning model ERNIE (Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration), can produce text, images, and videos from natural language inputs.

Initially open-sourced in 2019 by Tsinghua University researchers, ERNIE showcased impressive natural language understanding by integrating text and knowledge graph data. Baidu subsequently launched ERNIE 2.0, which surpassed a 90 score on the GLUE benchmark. By 2021, ERNIE 3.0 claimed to outperform humans on the SuperGLUE benchmark, setting new records and outpacing competitors like Google and Microsoft.

Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li, believes that public access to ERNIE Bot will enhance user experience through feedback. He emphasized ERNIE Bot’s capabilities in understanding, generation, reasoning, and memory, highlighting its utility in writing, learning, entertainment, and work domains.

Introduced in March, ERNIE Bot demonstrated proficiency in areas like literature, art, and science. It can, for instance, summarize a novel, suggest plot continuations, or visualize a fictional character based on text descriptions. Recent updates have tripled its training throughput, enabling faster results and image input processing.

Baidu’s release of generative AI to the public, as reported by Bloomberg, aligns with China’s vision of AI as a strategic priority. Beijing is implementing “guardrails” to ensure responsible AI use while maintaining competitiveness.

These “guardrails”, introduced in July 2023, set comprehensive standards for generative AI in China, covering content, data, technology, fairness, and licensing. They emphasize adherence to socialism’s core values, prohibit content that could destabilize the nation, and promote the sharing of public training data resources. The guidelines also mandate the use of secure development tools, respect for intellectual property, and non-discriminatory algorithms. Most generative AI operators will require licenses, ensuring regulatory oversight.

China’s regulations not only guide domestic AI entities but also influence global AI governance discussions.

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