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Baidu's Ernie Bot AI Service Receives 33 Million Questions on Public Debut

Baidu's generative AI service, Ernie Bot, garnered significant attention on its public debut, receiving a staggering 33 million questions from users.

Baidu's Ernie Bot AI
Credits: Simon Song

The mobile app quickly became the most popular app on Apple's Chinese iOS store, with over 313,610 downloads. However, the AI bot faced challenges in responding to certain queries and did not always provide fair answers.


The Chinese government recently approved the release of several generative AI services, including Ernie Bot, as part of its efforts to regulate the technology. Other approved services include those from AI specialist SenseTime, Baichuan (founded by Sogou's Wang Xiaochuan) and state-backed Zhipu AI.


Ernie Bot's popularity was evident in the 2.4 million downloads it received on the first day of launch across various Android app stores. Users were eager to test the capabilities of generative AI services, resulting in a flood of questions directed at Ernie Bot.


However, the AI bot encountered difficulties in responding to certain queries and did not always provide satisfactory answers. Screenshots of dialogues with the chatbot revealed instances where it failed to respond or provided biased answers. For example, when asked which of the founders of Baidu, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings was considered a capitalist, Ernie Bot pointed to the founders of Alibaba and Tencent but excluded Baidu's founder, Robin Li, despite their similar business practices.


In another instance, when asked if Taiwan was part of China, Ernie Bot initially affirmed that it was, but then abruptly ended the conversation and suggested changing the topic. These inconsistencies in responses and the bot's reluctance to address certain topics highlight the challenges faced by public chatbot services in China, where free speech is strictly controlled by the government.


The rollout of these chatbots underscores the delicate balance between adhering to "core socialist values" and avoiding content deemed harmful to national security, as outlined in Beijing's generative AI regulations. Baidu has yet to respond to inquiries regarding the varying responses generated by Ernie Bot and its decision to shut down conversations on certain topics.

 
  • Baidu's Ernie Bot generative AI service received 33 million questions on its public debut.

  • The app became the most popular on Apple's Chinese iOS store, with over 313,610 downloads.

  • Ernie Bot faced challenges in responding to certain queries and did not always provide fair answers.

Source: SCMP

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