Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Chinese citizens are busy downloading Ernie, an AI chatbot application made by Baidu that is similar to ChatGPT.
Ernie managed to become the most downloaded app on the App Store in China, less than 24 hours from its launch.
Ernie’s appearance in the App Store, according to CNBC Internationalmarking the Chinese government starting to open up to artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
Baidu has actually introduced Ernie since March 16 2023. However, until yesterday, access to ChatGPT was limited to partners and only a small portion of the approximately 1.2 million citizens who lined up to try it.
As of Wednesday, Ernie can be accessed on the App Store without having to enter a Chinese ID number.
Chinese companies have indeed caught up with the global AI fever since OpenAI introduced ChatGPT in early 2023. China has banned ChatGPT from being used in China, like other services owned by global technology companies such as Google and Facebook.
Despite blocking ChatGPT, Chinese government officials have repeatedly emphasized the importance of developing technology, especially artificial intelligence.
On August 15, Chinese authorities published interim rules on generative AI service management. The regulation only applies to artificial intelligence programs available to the general public.
The Chinese government also no longer requires parties developing AI technology to apply for special permits.
In discussions with investors, Baidu CEO Robin Li said China’s new regulations on AI were “more pro-innovation than regulatory” and confirmed that Baidu was “optimistic about more friendly regulations in the future.”
Baidu isn’t the only Chinese company developing AI technology. Other companies such as Alibaba and Kunlun Tech have also launched similar services.
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