China’s Baidu unveils latest version of its Ernie AI model

By Yelin Mo and Eduardo Baptista

BEIJING (Reuters) -Chinese technology giant Baidu on Tuesday unveiled the newest version of its generative artificial intelligence (AI) model, Ernie 4.0, saying its capabilities were on par with those of ChatGPT maker OpenAI’s pioneering GPT-4 model.

CEO Robin Li introduced Ernie 4.0 at an event in Beijing, focusing on what he described as the model’s memory capabilities and demonstrating it writing a martial arts novel in real-time. He also showed Ernie 4.0 creating advertising posters and videos.

Baidu, owner of China’s largest internet search engine, is at the forefront of AI models in China amid a global craze over the technology sparked by the introduction of ChatGPT last year.

The firm launched a chatbot powered by Ernie in March, dubbed ErnieBot, though investors were disappointed to be shown only pre-recorded demonstrations.

In August, Baidu was among a number of firms to receive government approval to release AI products to the public.

China now has at least 130 large language models (LLMs), representing 40% of the global total and behind only the United States’ 50%, showed data from brokerage CLSA.

(Reporting by Yelin Mo and Eduardo Baptista; Writing by Brenda Goh; Editing by Christopher Cushing)