China’s Baidu reveals more capabilities of its AI-powered chatbot Ernie

BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese search engine Baidu (9888.HK) on Monday shared pre-recorded videos of its AI-powered chatbot Ernie summarizing financial data and producing PowerPoint presentations, among other industry-focused capabilities.

According to images shared by a Baidu spokesperson in a media-facing group on WeChat, China’s most-used messaging service, the Chinese chatbot has a wider skill set than was previously shown when it launched nearly two weeks ago.

At that time, the ChatGPT-like product was proven qualified to generate images with text messages, compose poetry and produce voice in Chinese dialects.

Videos shared Monday show the chatbot, powered by generative artificial intelligence (AI), producing travel itineraries and virtual human-like live broadcasts that can advertise products using scripts tailored to user needs.

These videos were from a closed meeting hosted by Baidu’s AI Cloud division for the first batch of companies testing an industry-focused version of the chatbot.

The meeting was originally supposed to be a live product launch open to the media and the public, but the format was changed to prioritize “strong demand” from the more than 120,000 companies that applied to test the Ernie bot, the company said in a statement on the matter, adding that this It will be the first of many closed meetings on Monday morning.

However, the change caused Hong Kong-listed Baidu shares to drop 4.5% Monday morning.

More businesses will be able to sign up to test the industry-focused version of the Ernie bot starting March 31, while the regular version of the app remains open for testing for users lucky enough to get invite codes.

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Tests conducted by Reuters show that the normal version has a good command of Chinese but produces factual errors and avoids answering political questions.

The Ernie bot, China’s closest answer yet to the US-developed ChatGPT, was launched on March 16 by Baidu CEO Robin Li, who gave a live demo in which he walked journalists through a series of pre-recorded demos that Shows different Chinese chatbot capabilities.

The company’s share price fell while the presentation was still live but rebounded the next day, in part due to strong demand from the Chinese corporate sector.

(Reporting by Eduardo Baptista) Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Jimmy Fried and Sharon Singleton

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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