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China's biggest search engine is to set launch a ChatGPT rival in March

Baidu's service will allow users to get conversation-like search results.

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Chinese search giant Baidu aims to introduce a ChatGPT-like AI service that gives users conversational results, Bloomberg has reported. It'll be based on the company's Ernie system, a large-scale machine-learning model trained over several years that "excels at natural language understanding and generation," Baidu said in 2021.

Open AI's ChatGPT has taken the tech world by storm of late, thanks to its ability to answer fact-based questions, write in a human-like way and even create code. Microsoft invested $1 billion in Open AI back in 2019, and reportedly plans to incorporate aspects of ChatGPT into its Bing search engine.

Google, meanwhile, likely sees the technology as a threat to its search business and plans to accelerate development of its own conversational AI technology. CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly declared a "code red" over ChatGPT and may be preparing to show off 20 or more AI-products and a chatbot for its search engine at its I/O conference in May.

Baidu has reportedly seen lagging growth in search and sees ChatGPT-like apps as a potential way to leapfrog rivals. "I’m so glad that the technology we are pondering every day can attract so many people’s attention. That’s not easy," he said during a talk in December, according to a transcript seen by Bloomberg.

ChatGPT has largely drawn positive attention, but the downsides have come into focus as well. Technology news site CNET was forced to correct AI-written articles due to errors and concerns about plagiarism. And New York City public schools recently banned ChatGPT over cheating concerns, because it can create articles and essays that can be difficult to distinguish from student-created content.