Baidu and SenseTime launch ChatGPT-style AI bots to the public
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With its ERNIE Bot, Baidu has made AI-powered searches and a variety of tasks accessible to the public, from creating videos to summarizing complex documents.

On Wednesday, its shares rose 3.1% in New York and 4.7% in Hong Kong.

According to a source familiar with the matter, Baidu (BIDU) is the first Chinese company to get regulatory approval for the rollout and the first to launch a public service of this kind.

Before Thursday, ERNIE Bot, called “Wenxin Yiyan” in Chinese, was only available to corporate clients or select members of the public who requested access. According to analysts, Baidu announced its own version in February, giving it an early advantage in China. The company revealed ERNIE a month later, showing how it could create a newsletter, come up with a slogan, and solve a math puzzle.

Alibaba (BABA) and SenseTime have announced plans to launch ChatGPT-style tools since then, adding to the list of Chinese companies joining the trend. CNN reports that Alibaba has filed for regulatory approval for its own bot, which was introduced in April.

According to an Alibaba Cloud spokesperson, “the initial list of companies that have received approval will be released by relevant local departments within one week,” after the company officially launches. It follows a similar feature introduced by Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL) in May, which allows users to search the web using an AI chatbot.

In addition to its advanced understanding of Chinese queries, Baidu’s service is capable of generating various types of responses, including text, images, audio and video.

According to its developer, OpenAI, GPT-4 can also analyze photos, but generates only text responses.

A Baidu spokesperson told CNN that ERNIE Bot is available globally, but its interface is in Chinese.

In April, SenseTime unveiled its service, boasting a range of features that allow users to write and debug code more efficiently or receive personalized medical advice through a virtual health assistant.