China’s Baidu has launched the latest version of its Ernie AI LLM, called Ernie 4.0. According to the company’s bold claim, the new version is on par with OpenAI’s (creator of ChatGPT) GPT-4 Large Language Model.
As reported by Reuters, Baidu’s CEO, Robin Li, announced the new AI model during the company’s event in Beijing, China. During the event, Baidu’s chief unveiled the myriad capabilities of this AI model, including its ability to write content like a martial arts book in real time and its proficiency in creating visual media such as posters and videos.
For those who may not be familiar, Baidu is China’s largest search engine, but does not compete with Google Search, as it is blocked in mainland China. Baidu’s efforts with its Ernie AI model and its chatbot, Ernie Bot, are seen as China’s attempt to level the AI playing field with American tech giants, Google and OpenAI, both of which have advanced Large Language Models, namely PaLM 2 (powers Google Bard) and GPT-4 (powers ChatGPT), respectively.
According to Reuters, China now has “at least 130 large language models (LLMs), representing 40% of the global total.” The country is now second only to the United States, which accounts for 50% of the global total, as per data from brokerage CLSA.
In light of this, it’s clear that the global “AI race” is heating up, not just in the U.S. With companies like Meta and Amazon entering the competition, the generative AI sector is experiencing rapid development.
In July, Meta launched an upgraded version of its LLaMa LLM model, known as Llama 2. Meta has released this model as open source, making it available for free for both commercial and research purposes. Furthermore, Amazon has also entered the AI arena with plans to introduce a new generative AI model to its Echo lineup of smart home devices, alongside the unveiling of a new generation of Echo devices that can understand conversational phrases and respond using AI.