Chinese search giant Baidu Inc. is reportedly looking to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot service similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, potentially making it a major entry in the race to adopt AI.
A source with knowledge of the matter stated that Baidu is aiming for March to roll out the service as a standalone application and steadily embed it into its main search engine.
The chatbot has yet to be officially named and is expected to function like ChatGPT, providing users with information like a search engine in a human-like manner.
Chinese chatbots currently work to facilitate social interaction, while the platform of San Francisco-based OpenAI takes on professional tasks such as essay creation and programming.
The source also said the Beijing-based tech company plans to add chatbot-generated results to users’ search requests instead of offering only links.
A representative for Baidu has declined to comment on the matter.
Prominent Chinese, US Companies Venturing Into AI
Baidu, China’s largest search engine company, has made significant investments in researching AI as part of its shift from online marketing to deeper technology. The firm has also invested in cloud services, chips, and autonomous driving technology to expand its revenue sources.
Its Ernie system, which is a large-scale machine-learning model that has been studying data for several years, would be crucial to its upcoming ChatGPT-style service, according to the source.
US tech giant Microsoft Corp. has a $1-billion investment in OpenAI and is investing further in the AI industry to try and create real-world applications, while others are betting on the hype for funding purposes.
Shares of BuzzFeed Inc. increased twofold in January after announcing plans to work with OpenAI to enhance its quizzes and content.
In addition to Baidu, certain Chinese startups are looking into generative AI and have caught the interests of investors, such as venture capital firms Sequoia Capital and Sinovation Ventures.