Baidu CEO Raises Concerns Over China's AI Model Development
Updated: Dec 17, 2023
In a recent industry forum in Shenzhen, Robin Li, the CEO of Baidu, one of China's leading AI firms, expressed his concerns about the rush to develop large language models in the country.
Li warned that this fervor could result in a wastage of resources and urged companies to focus on developing practical applications instead.
The interest in generative artificial intelligence (AI) has surged in China since the release of OpenAI's chatbot ChatGPT last year. Many established companies and startups have entered the field, leading to a proliferation of large language models. However, Li highlighted that while there are numerous large models in China, the number of AI applications developed based on these models remains limited.
Li emphasised the need for developers to rely on a limited number of large models to create various native applications, rather than constantly redeveloping foundational models. He stated, "A large language model itself is a basic foundation akin to an operating system, but ultimately developers need to rely on a limited number of large models to develop various native applications. Therefore, constantly redeveloping foundational large models represents an enormous waste of social resources."
According to Li, as of October, there have been 238 large language models released in China, a significant increase from just 79 in June. Baidu's own large language model, called Ernie, was made available for public use in August. The company recently unveiled the latest version, Ernie 4.0, which builds upon the success of its initial release in March.
The concerns raised by Li come amidst growing market worries about the viability of business models for companies developing large language models. The industry is facing the possibility of a shakeout as companies struggle to find practical applications for these models.
Baidu's CEO's warning reflects the need for a more strategic approach to AI model development in China. While the rush to innovate is commendable, it is crucial to ensure that resources are utilised efficiently and effectively. By focusing on practical applications and avoiding redundant development, companies can maximise the potential of AI technology.
Baidu CEO Robin Li warns about the rush to develop large language models in China, citing the risk of wasting resources.
Li urges companies to focus on developing practical applications rather than constantly redeveloping foundational models.
The interest in generative AI has grown in China since the release of OpenAI's ChatGPT.