Chinese internet search major Baidu Inc is planning to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot service similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT in March. Baidu Inc is China’s largest search engine company, and it is planning to debut the Artificial Intelligence Chat Bot application in March, initially embedding it into its primary search services
An AI chatbot is a first-response tool that greets, engages, and serves customers in a friendly and familiar way. This technology can provide customized, immediate responses and help center article suggestions and collect customer information with in-chat forms.
The tool will allow users to get conversation-style search results like OpenAI’s popular platform. The technology firm plans to launch the service as a standalone application and gradually merge it into its search engine, said the person, who declined to be identified as the information is confidential.
Baidu has spent billions of dollars researching AI in a years-long effort to transition from online marketing to deeper technology. Its Ernie system – a large-scale machine-learning model that is been trained on data over several years – will be the foundation of its upcoming ChatGPT-like tool, the person said.
Bots use predefined conversation flows or artificial intelligence (AI) to answer questions and guide customers through different scenarios, such as login issues, payment problems or booking instructions–to name a few. AI bots can also learn from each interaction and adjust their actions to provide better support.
Chatbots work best with straightforward, frequently-asked questions. Unless their underlying technology is especially sophisticated, bots typically can’t handle difficult, multi-part questions like a support agent can.
ChatGPT, OpenAI’s artificial intelligence tool, has lit up the internet since its public debut in November, amassing more than a million users within days and touching off a debate about the role of AI in schools, offices, and homes.
OpenAI is among the many companies, academic labs, and independent researchers working to build more advanced chatbots. These systems cannot exactly chat like a human, but they often seem to. They can also retrieve and repackage information with a speed that humans never could. They can be thought of as digital assistants — like Siri or Alexa — that are better at understanding what you are looking for and giving it to you.
Baidu, Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings, and ByteDance control much of China’s internet. The search company has been trying to revive growth in the mobile era, after increasingly lagging behind its larger rivals in arenas such as mobile advertising, video, and social media. Apart from research in AI, the search giant is now also developing autonomous driving technology.
ChatGPT also piqued the interest of Chinese internet users, who like people elsewhere shared screenshots of surprising conversations with the AI bot on local social media. That is despite a heavily censored domestic internet largely walled off from the rest of the world, a model that is helped companies like Baidu thrive as local equivalents to Google, Amazon, and Facebook.
Apart from Baidu, several Chinese start-ups are also exploring generative AI, and have attracted investors such as Sequoia and Sinovation Ventures.
After the release of ChatGPT — which more than a million people have used — many experts believe these new chatbots are poised to reinvent or even replace internet search engines like Google and Bing.
They can serve up information in tight sentences, rather than long lists of blue links. They explain concepts in ways that people can understand. And they can deliver facts, while also generating business plans, term paper topics, and other new ideas from scratch.