With Baidu ( BIDU , 9888.HK ) a week away from launching a chatbot similar to ChatGPT on March 16, employees at the Chinese search giant said they were racing to meet deadlines. At present, some basic functions of this chatbot are still not completed.
Hundreds of employees have been working around the clock to develop the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot called Ernie Bot, according to people familiar with the matter. Other teams have been called upon to back up people and powerful computer chips, they said. Affected by U.S. sanctions, Chinese companies can no longer buy such chips.
The AI model the chatbot is based on is still being trained on data ahead of the scheduled launch date, some of the people said. The launch was highly anticipated in the Chinese tech industry. Some employees say they don’t have enough time to build a fully functional product.
According to people briefed on the plan, Baidu plans to roll out the product in stages, starting with some users for public testing. Last month, Baidu said it would be the first to embed Wenxinyiyan in its search engine and open it to the public in March.