China's AI foundation models see surge in applications
2023-11-14 | People's Daily

From "directing" mine production and helping programmers write code to accelerating the research and development of new drugs, an increasingly diverse range of application scenarios underpinned by artificial intelligence (AI) foundation models are benefiting thousands of industries and households in China.

At its annual Baidu World conference in Beijing recently, Chinese search engine and AI giant Baidu unveiled the newest version of ERNIE 4.0.

In a live demonstration, Baidu CEO Robin Li prompted the ERNIE chatbot to generate advertising materials, including posters and a marketing video, while solving complicated math problems, all within a few minutes.

While coming up with ideas for a novel, it was able to remember previous instructions and create sophisticated story lines by adding conflicts and characters.

Li said Baidu plans to incorporate AI technology into its search engine, maps and cloud-drive services, as well as its business intelligence offerings for enterprise customers.

At the conference, teenage champion diver Quan Hongchan explained how Baidu-developed AI technology can be applied to diving training. Quan said that the diving auxiliary training system can be used to refine a diver's movements during daily training, providing her with additional coaching support.

Baidu's foundation model can also be used to increase the intelligent driving capability of cars, providing them with more powerful self-learning and memory functions, modifying human-car interactions and improving the user experience.

AI foundation models are becoming an important driving force in new industrialization, and have been applied within many industries and fields, such as manufacturing, energy, electric power, the chemical industry and transportation.

In the future, China will vigorously promote the digital transformation of manufacturing, as well as the innovative application of artificial intelligence, said Tao Qing, spokesperson for the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The competitive pattern of AI foundation models will be transferred from technology to application, and then to ecology, said Huang Tiejun, director of the Beijing Academy of Artificial Intelligence.

Huawei, Baidu, Ant Group, Alibaba Cloud and other foundation model entrants have been posting recruitment ads, looking for development partners to build a foundation model ecosystem.

For instance, Tencent has worked closely with 11,000 ecological partners to launch industry solutions covering more than 100 industrial scenarios.

With the opening-up of foundation models and the popularization of AI technology, everyone will be empowered by AI, freed from tedious affairs and will engage in more valuable and creative activities, said He Junjie, senior vice president of Baidu. 

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