Baidu recently saw its shares take a massive hit following a pre-recorded unveiling demo of ChatGPT rival Ernie bot.
The shares of Chinese multinational tech company Baidu plunged to an 8-week low after the company unveiled a ChatGPT rival. On Thursday, Baidu provided a sneak peek into the functionality of its Chinese-language bot but also forewarned of its imperfections. However, during a live-streamed release event, CEO Robin Li described how the Chinese-language ChatGPT would improve through user feedback.
Speaking on how the Baidu chatbot, dubbed Ernie bot, fares so far with regards to user experience quality, Li stated:
“Sometimes, when we use it, we are pleasantly surprised; sometimes, we may think there is an obvious error. But one thing is for sure; it is advancing very fast.”
Li also added that Baidu would prioritize initial bot access for its artificial intelligence chatbot. This initial access would comprise 650 ecosystem business partners.
Baidu CEO Demo on ChatGPT Rival Unable to Prevent Company Shares from Slipping
Despite Ernie bot’s promising prospects, Baidu shares tumbled approximately 6.4% in Hong Kong following the unveiling of the ChatGPT rival. This development wiped out roughly $3 billion of the company’s value. Furthermore, the stock descent, representing Baidu’s lowest since January 19th, comes amid a broader decline for Asian stocks. The company’s stock downturn could be attributed to Ernie’s first public release being only a pre-recorded video.
Nonetheless, Li discussed Ernie’s potential in the ‘disappointing’ demo release. Amid integrating with Baidu’s search engine and other products, the AI chatbot would incorporate several businesses into its ecosystem. These include banks, media companies, as well as car firms. Furthermore, Baidu reportedly has an extensive enterprise cloud business that could grant users access to Ernie’s application programming interface (API).
Weighing in on the ChatGPT rival’s use case potential, Li explained:
“Its extremely strong ability to comprehend and express language will allow any company to get closer to their customers. It’s an opportunity for every company, and it will even have an impact on every single person.”
However, Shenzhen Qianhai United Fortune Fund Management Co-chief investment officer Yu Yingbo was less than impressed with the Ernie presentation. Commenting on the use of pre-recorded videos and the lack of a public launch, Yingbo said that “it looks pre-recorded, and so far, it’s all just Powerpoints. The demos did not look spontaneous.”
Furthermore, Yingbo questioned Li’s delivery on how Ernie indeed compares to ChatGPT and could rival the OpenAI brainchild. As the chief investment officer put it, “[Li] not citing anything on the database they are drawing from, or their model, or how it compares to ChatGPT. It’s all really vague and theoretical.”
Two Baidu employees also expressed disappointment in the 45-minute demonstration rollout, which left much to be desired.
Baidu Leading Chinese Chatbot Creation Race
Notwithstanding, Baidu remains at the vanguard of Chinese-created artificial intelligence bots in the same vein as ChatGPT. Within an hour of its Ernie announcement, the tech giant said it had 30,000 new entrants to its waitlist for access. Most of these entrants comprised corporate clients who seek the opportunity to avail themselves of Ernie’s fledgling technology.
Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to demystify crypto stories to the bare basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without too much background knowledge.
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