Chinese internet giant Baidu is planning to launch its own version of ChatGPT, a report claimed on Sunday.
The company will unveil its AI-powered chatbot in March, a person claiming to have knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg.
At the start, the tool, which is yet to be given a name, will be incorporated into Baidu’s main search services, the source said.
While Chinese technology firms are already working on similar AI tools, Baidu’s sheer size means that its own involvement would be a landmark moment in a new sector that has huge potential to transform multiple industries.
According to Bloomberg, Baidu has already invested large sums of money in developing its Ernie system, an AI tool that it’s been working on over several years, and it’s this that will form the basis of its upcoming version of ChatGPT.
ChatGPT, developed by California-based OpenAI, has taken chatbot technology to a whole new level. Unveiled just a couple of months ago, the tool has been trained using massive amounts of web data and refined through human feedback, giving it the skill to respond in text form to human prompts in a way that’s both natural and creative.
While it still has a number of limitations, ChatGPT has so much potential that it may one day replace lawyers, teachers, writers, and more. It can even create computer code, so programmers will be watching their backs, too. Still, it’s possible the technology will assist and augment these roles rather than replace them entirely.
Similar AI tools are also threatening to disrupt creative industries, with artists becoming increasingly concerned about text-to-image and text-to-video generators such as OpenAI’s Dall-E2 that could leave humans struggling to make a living from their craft.
In a sign of just how big the technology powering these AI tools is about to become, computer giant Microsoft recently announced a significant investment in OpenAI, believed to be in the region of $10 billion.
Google’s parent firm, Alphabet, is also investing heavily in developing competing systems amid fears that Microsoft could use ChatGPT to supercharge its Bing search engine, potentially impacting Google’s main revenue driver.
With China’s web giant Baidu reportedly all set to enter the space in earnest, the motivation to develop the skills of ChatGPT and similar technologies will only increase.