ERNIE, Baidu’s answer to ChatGPT, has “achieved a full upgrade,” company CEO Robin Li told the assembled crowd at the Baidu World 2023 showcase on Tuesday, “with drastically improved performance in understanding, generation, reasoning, and memory.”
During his keynote address, Li demonstrated improvements to those four core capabilities on-stage by having the AI create a multimodal car commercial in a few minutes based on a short text prompt , solve complex geometry problems and progressively iterate the plot for a short story on the spot. The fourth-gen generative AI system “is not inferior in any aspect to GPT-4,” he continued.
ERNIE 4.0 will offer an “improved” search experience resembling that of Google’s SGE, aggregating and summarizing information pulled from the wider web and distilled into a generated response.The system will be multimodal, providing answers as text, images or animated graphs through an “interactive chat interface for more complex searches, enabling users to iteratively refine their queries until reaching the optimal answer, all in one search interface,” per the company’s press. What’s more, the AI will be able to recommend “highly customized” content streams based on previous interactions with the user.
Similar to ChatGPT Enterprise, ERNIE’s new Generative Business Intelligence will offer a more finely-tuned and secure model trained on each client’s individual data silo. ERNIE 4.0 will also be capable of, “conducting academic research, summarizing key information, creating documents, and generating slideshow presentations” as well as enable users to search and retrieve files using text and voice prompts.
Baidu is following the example set by the rest of the industry and has announced plans to put its generative AI in every app and service it can manage. The company has already integrated some of the AI’s functions into Baidu Maps, including navigation, ride hailing and hotel bookings. It is also offering “ow-threshold access and productivity tools” to help individuals and enterprises develop API plugins for the Baidu Qianfan Foundation Model Platform.
Baidu had already been developing its ERNIE large language model for a number of years prior to the debut of ChatGPT in 2022, though its knowledge-base is focused primarily on the Chinese market. Baidu released ERNIE Bot, it’s answer to ChatGPT, this March with some 550 billion facts packed into its knowledge graph, though it wasn’t until this August that it rolled out to the general public.
Baidu’s partner startups also showed off new product series that will integrate the AI’s functionality during the event, including a domestic robot, an All-in-One learning machine and a smart home speaker.