Baidu's AI Outperforms OpenAI's GPT-4, Signals AI Race Between China and US

NNicholas October 17, 2023 6:06 AM

Baidu Inc. claims that its AI language model, Ernie 4.0, has matched the sophistication and general capabilities of OpenAI’s GPT-4. The achievement marks a significant milestone in China's race to develop AI technology that can rival American counterparts.

Baidu's Ernie 4.0 rivals OpenAI’s GPT-4

In a bold assertion, Robin Li, the founder of Baidu Inc., announced that their large language model, Ernie 4.0, has achieved parity with OpenAI’s widely recognized GPT-4. Li showcased Ernie 4.0's abilities through a live Q&A session. By answering complex questions and solving intricate puzzles, Ernie demonstrated its prowess, matching the sophistication and general capabilities of GPT-4.

Ernie's user base grows rapidly

Despite being launched months later than its US counterpart, the Ernie chatbot has amassed over 45 million users. In contrast, ChatGPT, OpenAI's bot, has a user base of around 180 million. Even though Ernie lags behind in user count, the speed of its adoption underscores the intense interest in AI technology in China.

Baidu is not just using Ernie as a standalone chatbot. Instead, the company is integrating this advanced AI model into its core products, including search, maps, file-sharing, work collaboration, and data analytics. This strategic move allows Baidu to tap into the transformative potential of AI across multiple fields, enhancing the user experience and boosting business growth.

China's approval of generative AI services

In August, China paved the way for the widespread application of generative AI technology by approving the first batch of AI services for domestic release. This batch included innovative products from major tech companies such as Baidu and ByteDance. This approval signals China's commitment to pursuing AI technology and its potential impact on various sectors, including the country's struggling economy.

Despite the progress made by Chinese firms like Baidu, their AI aspirations could be hampered by external factors. Specifically, US sanctions restricting Chinese access to the most advanced chips used for training and running AI models could potentially impact their progress. The move is part of Washington's broader efforts to tighten controls on AI chip shipments to China, adding to the uncertainty in the ongoing AI race between the two countries.

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