Strong foundations

1 minute read

If the generative-AI revolution took many by surprise, Baidu boss Robin Li wasn’t among them. Best known for launching China’s most popular search engine, Beijing-based Baidu has been working on AI for over a decade, launching an Alexa-like Mandarin-language chatbot and driverless cars. In August, Baidu released its own ChatGPT equivalent, Ernie Bot, which has over 200 million users in China. Crucially, it is one of the few tech players worldwide to offer developers a full AI stack, including software, chips, cloud servers, foundation models, and apps, making it a one-stop shop. In April, Baidu partnered with Tesla for both on-board maps and autonomous driving in China, and has reportedly also held talks with Apple. “Baidu is an AI company with a strong internet foundation,” Li told TIME in August. “So we have lots of users [and] scenarios … to improve our foundation model at a much faster pace.”

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