After NFTs in 2021 and the metaverse in 2022, “conversational robot” is the buzzword in the new technology sector. While ChatGPT has been popularizing its uses since last December, Google with Bard, and the Chinese Baidu with Ernie Bot are also positioning themselves on these new artificial intelligences. A brief overview of the players involved and their ambitions.
Less than 24 hours after the announcement of Bard, Google’s new conversational robot, the Chinese giant Baidu responded on Tuesday, February 7 with Ernie Bot, its own artificial intelligence . A few hours later, Microsoft announced the integration of an AI into its Bing search engine. Three announcements in quick succession which above all underline the ambitions of large groups in this area, while ChatGPT, from OpenAI, is gaining in popularity.
CHATGPT, THE COLT OF OPENAI AND MICROSOFT
Since December, ChatGPT has been in the news a lot on the Web, and with already 100 million users in two months of opening to the general public, this artificial intelligence is arousing all desires. Starting with those of Microsoft, which has invested several billion dollars in this platform.
The American press claimed that the American computer giant had already injected more than 3 billion dollars and was preparing to add 10 billion more to the table, with the aim of integrating this AI as quickly as possible into its suite of software, which is already the case for Teams for example. It is now done since Microsoft announced on Tuesday February 7 the creation of Prometheus, an AI integrated into the Bing search engine and the Edge browser. Based on ChatGPT, it would however be “much more powerful” than the OpenAI robot. The integration of this type of generative tools – which assists humans in their task to save them time – should eventually concern all Microsoft software, in particular Office 360.
The new Bing is in test version for now. In addition to more relevant and more complete results, the search engine must be able to respond directly to the questions of Internet users, while adding “links which refer to other pages on the web”, it is specified.
These colossal figures already demonstrate the enthusiasm for conversational robots. ChatGPT is now almost everywhere, from students asking it to generate term papers, to companies claiming processes for their accounting, to cybercriminals already hijacking it to get lines of code to make malware. The boom in uses seems “exponential”. Hence the rapid arrival of new rivals.
BARD, THE CHALLENGER CREATED BY GOOGLE
While some media described an Alphabet/Google giant “wobbly” at the start of 2023 due to the rise of ChatGPT, it took until February to observe the response of this group. On Monday February 6, the Californian company gave a name to its alternative generative AI project. A project she has been working on for several years. Called Bard, this conversational robot has just been launched immediately in the test phase.
“Bard’s ambition is to combine the breadth of knowledge in the world with the power, intelligence and creativity of our great language models,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company.
To differentiate itself from ChatGPT, Google promises an AI capable of relying on information contained on the Web. An important point, since ChatGPT does not rely on this source, but on recorded content that dates back to 2021 but not yet after – even if an update is planned -, hence the observation of inaccuracies during some answers. With Bard, Google intends to be able to combine its language models with the breadth of global knowledge. The Alphabet group, which owns Google, claims, for example, to be able to generate music to accompany the lyrics of a song. One example among many others of the use of such technology.
ERNIE BOT, THE RIVAL WORN BY BAIDU
It is not only in the United States that chatbots are arousing interest. In Asia and more particularly in China, the Baidu group intends to launch its AI: Ernie Bot in the coming months. A conversational robot not to be underestimated compared to its American competitors, since Baidu is the most popular search engine in the Middle Kingdom. The group has been diversifying its activities for a few years and is already present in artificial intelligence, in particular with autonomous cars, or even in infrastructure linked to the cloud.
On the calendar side, the firm Baidu, based in Beijing, “should be able to complete the internal tests of Ernie Bot in March. The latter will then be made available to the general public on an unspecified date,” a spokeswoman told AFP.
However, we still know very little about Ernie Bot, but we can imagine that he will be the great Chinese rival of American projects. An announcement that was also well received in Asia, since Baidu shares jumped 15% on Tuesday on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.