China's Ernie AI is just as good as - or better than - ChatGPT, say its creators

AI is creeping into nearly every aspect of our lives, and there may be a new top name.
Written by Artie Beaty, Contributing Writer
Colorful chatbot
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There's a new name in the top spot of the ever-changing AI arms race. Well, at least if you believe the creator behind it. 

Speaking at an event in Beijing, Baidu founder Robin Li, whose company is often called the Chinese equivalent of Google, said that the latest version of his company's AI chatbot matches ChatGPT in overall capability.

Also: The best AI chatbots: ChatGPT and alternatives

In real time, Li asked Ernie Bot 4.0 several questions, presented math problems, and asked it to write a martial arts novel. He also asked Ernie to create a few posters and videos on the spot. If there was any doubt about his challenge to OpenAI, Li made sure his beliefs were clear when he said "Ernie is not inferior in any respect to GPT-4."

And there may just be evidence to prove what he's saying is true.

Just a few months ago, Li went even further about the previous version of the chatbot, Ernie 3.5, saying that it actually surpassed ChatGPT in several areas, including those in the Chinese language. To back up that claim, Baidu quoted a report from a Chinese national newspaper that ran a test using two benchmarks, AGIEval and C-Eval, to measure AI performance. One of those tests used a standard admission test someone might take to get into college. Ernie 3.5 scored better than GPT-4.

Also: What is GPT-4? Here's everything you need to know

Why does it matter if Ernie is better than ChatGPT? Like what is happening in the US, AI is quickly becoming a part of life in China, being inserted into products like online search, file-sharing, work collaboration, and maps. 

It's clear that AI is going to have potentially massive applications, and as AI makes its way into the workplace, it's important for companies to be on the leading edge. After all, more success for individual companies means a country's whole economy benefits.

It's clear that AI isn't going anywhere, and that everyone is going to have to adapt to its increasing usage. What remains unclear is who's going to do it best. 

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