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China’s Baidu beat ChatGPT in some metrics

June 29, 2023 China Emerging Markets

China’s Baidu beat ChatGPT in some metrics

A NEW AI-driven search engine on the block?

Baidu Inc, China’s leading search engine provider, said the latest iteration of its ChatGPT-style service had surpassed the widely popular Microsoft-backed OpenAI chatbot on multiple key metrics.

The state-owned search engine service said in a statement on Tuesday that Ernie 3.5, the latest version of its Ernie AI model, had surpassed “ChatGPT in comprehensive ability scores” and outperformed “GPT-4 in several Chinese capabilities”.

The Beijing-based company cited a test that the state newspaper China Science Daily ran using datasets including AGIEval and C-Eval, two benchmarks used to evaluate the performance of artificial intelligence (AI) models.

OpenAI did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment outside of usual business hours.

The Baidu announcement comes amid a global AI buzz kicked off by ChatGPT that has spread to China, prompting a flurry of domestic companies to announce rival products.

Baidu was the first big Chinese tech company to debut a AI product to rival ChatGPT when it unveiled its language AI Ernie Bot in March. Ernie Bot, built on Baidu’s older Ernie 3.0 AI model, has been in invite-only tests for the past three months.

Other big Chinese tech firms, including Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, have levelled the playing field with their respective roll-outs of other AI models.

This February, Microsoft has rolled out ChatGPT Edge, touted as the AI-powered web ‘co-pilot’ for the Bing and Edge search browsers. The next iteration of ChatGPT, GPT-5, is set to follow later this year.

Baidu said its new model comes with better training and inference efficiency, which positions it for faster and cheaper iterations in the future. Baidu also said its new model would support external “plugins”.

Plugins are additional applications that will allow Baidu’s AI to work on more specific scenarios such as summarizing long text and generating more precise answers.

ChatGPT rolled out plugin support in March.

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