When Ernie Bot was launched on March 16, the response was a mixture of pleasure and disappointment. Many individuals deemed its efficiency mediocre relative to the beforehand launched ChatGPT.
However most individuals merely weren’t in a position to see it for themselves. The launch occasion didn’t function a dwell demonstration, and later, to truly check out the bot, Chinese language customers have to have a Baidu account and apply for a use license that would take so long as three months to return via. Due to this, some individuals who received entry early have been promoting secondhand Baidu accounts on e-commerce websites, charging wherever from a couple of dollars to over $100.
Greater than a dozen Chinese language generative AI chatbots have been launched after Ernie Bot. They’re all fairly just like their Western counterparts in that they’re able to conversing in textual content—answering questions, fixing math issues (somewhat), writing programming code, and composing poems. A few of them additionally enable enter and output in different types, like audio, photos, information visualization, or radio alerts.
Like Ernie Bot, these companies got here with restrictions for consumer entry, making it tough for most people in China to expertise them. Some have been allowed just for enterprise makes use of.
One of many predominant causes Chinese language tech corporations restricted entry to most people was concern that the fashions might be used to generate politically delicate info. Whereas the Chinese language authorities has proven it’s extraordinarily able to censoring social media content material, new applied sciences like generative AI may push the censorship machine to unknown and unpredictable ranges. Most present chatbots like these from Baidu and ByteDance have built-in moderation mechanisms that might refuse to reply delicate questions on Taiwan or Chinese language president Xi Jinping, however a common launch to China’s 1.4 billion folks would nearly definitely enable customers to search out extra intelligent methods to bypass censors.