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Chinese multinational tech company Baidu is launching a well-heeled fund to support AI development and growth.
baidu (NASDAQ: BIDU) is set to launch a 1 billion yuan ($145 million) venture capital artificial intelligence (AI) fund to support AI startups. Today, the Chinese tech giant announced the intentions of its AI Fund, along with other related initiatives.
In addition to supporting platforms focused on AI-generated content, Baidu is also planning to launch a contest to promote its AI product. The Beijing-based tech company revealed that the competition will see developers create applications using its ernie Large Language Models (LLM). Alternatively, Baidu said competitors could integrate the bot model into their existing products and services.
The Baidu AI Fund initiative underscores the explosive popularity of artificial intelligence technology in everyday use cases. Since the release of OpenAI’s ChatGPT late last year, several tech platforms have rushed to take advantage of AI popularity.
Baidu AI Fund is part of a wider Chinese interest in AI development
While the success of ChatGPT has spurred growth and interest in AI over the past six months, China is familiar with the technology. For example, recently Reuters reportCiting Chinese government sources, it said that around 80 Chinese companies have launched their own LL.M. since 2020. Furthermore, the report also states that China’s LL.M. for 2023 is slightly higher than the US.
Yesterday, Reuters reported that in 2020, China issued 2 LLMs compared to 11 in the US. However, by the following year, the number of releases in both countries was similar, with 30 LL.M. In 2022, US companies again lead with 37 compared to China’s 28. So far in 2023, the East Asian country leads the US with 19 LLMs versus the US’s 18. In conclusion, the report states:
“Looking at the distribution of large-language models released worldwide, China and the United States lead by a wide margin, accounting for more than 80% of the global total.”
Furthermore, despite an increasingly close race between China and the US, the findings concluded that the latter retained the lead, saying:
“The United States has always ranked first in the world in terms of the number of large language models.”
Baidu’s Ernie Bot
Baidu alibaba (NYSE: BABA), and SenseTime are some of the Chinese companies that have launched generative AI services in the past few months. For example, at the end of March Baidu Unveiled Its Ernie chatbot to rival the functionality of ChatGPT. The company launched the AI product to interested partners during a closed-door meeting. However, Baidu CEO Robin Li was the first teased, Ernie Bott in a pre-recorded demo session on March 16. The chatbot was not fully ready at the time, possibly contributing to Baidu’s stock drop.
Baidu developed Ernie on its ERNIE LLM and describes the chatbot as having advanced promising features. According to the company, more than 650 companies have signed up to use Ernie across a wide range of use cases. These use cases include AI cloud functionality, smart device services, autonomous driving applications, and search.
Ernie is an acronym for Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration.
Tolu is a cryptocurrency and blockchain enthusiast based in Lagos. He likes to strip crypto stories down to the basics so that anyone anywhere can understand without a lot of background knowledge. When he is not delving deep into crypto stories, Tolu enjoys music, loves to sing and is an avid movie lover.
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