At the recent Baidu World 2023, the company launched ERNIE 4.0, its next-generation and most powerful foundation model offering enhanced core AI capabilities. CEO Robin Li showcased the new ERNIE Bot powered by ERNIE 4.0 through a number of demonstrations of its four core AI capabilities.
ERNIE Bot is able to “Understand” and provide answers to complex and even disorganized human requests, as well as interpreting hidden messages. ERNIE Bot can also “Generate” a range of content, including text, images, and videos, based on one simple text prompt and image input. Li further demonstrated ERNIE Bot’s ability to “Reason” by having it solve complex math problems. Lastly, ERNIE Bot’s ability to “Memorize” and integrate incremental inputs was demonstrated by writing a short story.
Let’s start brainstorming in English
I decided to put ERNIE Bot to the test through a simulated process of creating a new book. First of all, I used English to ask ERNIE Bot’s feedback on potential topics for a new AI book:
Certainly I expected a bit more detail on each of these options. I asked ERNIE Bot to further elaborate on each of these topics:
While all the options provided by ERNIE Bot looked particularly relevant for this moment in time, I found the fourth topic the most compelling. I asked the bot to provide me with a chapter outline of this book:
This outline would certainly be the first of a number of future iterations required for a real book. However, ERNIE Bot nicely outlined the key subjects to be covered in the book. Finally, I requested the bot to come up with a cover, taking advantage of its multimodal capabilities:
Suddenly, ERNIE Bot switched to Chinese and replied: “I don’t have a good idea, please modify the input and try again.” That was a bit disappointing, so I decided to switch tactics.
Let’s brainstorm now in Chinese
This time, I decided to follow the same process in Chinese:
“Sure, here are some topics on AI that might resonate with global leaders:
- AI and Global Economic Development: Explore how AI is changing the global economic landscape, increasing productivity, and how AI technology can be used to promote economic growth and prosperity.
- Al and Global Governance: Analyze the impact of AI on the global governance system, including its application in decision-making, public services, environmental protection, and how to ensure the fair, transparent and responsible use of AI technology.
- AI and the Future of Humanity: Consider the impact of AI on the future of humanity, including the challenges and opportunities in employment, education, health, etc., and how to ensure that the development of AI is aligned with human interests and values.
- AI and Global Security: Discuss the impact of AI on global security, including challenges in cybersecurity, data privacy, AI weapons, and how to establish effective regulatory and cooperative mechanisms to ensure the peaceful, secure and controlled development of AI technology.”
The list of topics was more comprehensive and detailed than the English answer, which shouldn’t come as a surprise, as the model has more training data in Chinese than in English. The topics that the chatbot suggested were relevant and timely, as they covered some of the most pressing issues and challenges that AI poses to the world today.
However, I thought that the answer could have been improved in some ways. The chatbot could have provided some examples or sources to support the topics, such as case studies, statistics, or expert opinions. The chatbot could have also suggested some subtopics or questions for each topic, to help the author narrow down their focus and scope, and to guide the author’s research and writing process.
Once again, I asked the bot to elaborate on these topics:
“Sure, here are some detailed explanations of these topics:
- AI and Global Economic Development: AI is changing the global economic landscape, providing new impetus to economic growth and prosperity by improving production efficiency, optimizing resource allocation and innovating business models. Global leaders can discuss how AI technologies can be used to promote economic growth, reduce poverty and inequality, and ensure that the spread and development of AI benefits all people.
- AI and Global Governance: AI presents new challenges and opportunities for the global governance system. The application of Al technology can improve the efficiency and quality of public services and help decision-makers better deal with complex issues. However, Al also brings some new risks and challenges, such as issues of data privacy, algorithmic fairness and transparency. Global leaders can explore how to establish effective regulatory and cooperation mechanisms to ensure the fair, transparent and responsible use of AI technology, as well as how to use AI technology to drive innovation and reform of the global governance system.
- AI and the Future of Humanity: The impact of AI on the future of humanity is multifaceted, including employment, education, health and other fields. The development of Al technology may change the needs and skill requirements of some traditional occupations, while also creating some new job opportunities. Global leaders can explore how education and training policies can help people adapt to the job market in the AI era, and how A technology can be used to improve the quality of life and well-being of humanity.
- Al and Global Security: The implications of AI for global security cannot be ignored either. The application of AI technology can improve the protection level of network security and data privacy, but it may also bring new security risks and challenges, such as the use and expansion of AI weapons and other issues. Global leaders can discuss how to establish an effective international cooperation mechanism to ensure the peaceful, secure and sustainable development of A technology. As well as how to strengthen or regulate and legal systems to prevent the potential exploitation of AI technology.”
This was a more detailed answer from ERNIE Bot, which provided some explanations and subtopics for each of the four topics. The answer was informative yet some examples or sources could have been provided to support the explanations and subtopics, such as case studies, statistics, or expert opinions. This would have made the answer more concrete and credible. Next, I decided to ask ERNIE Bot for a chapter outline for the fourth topic:
“Chapter 1: Introduction
An introduction to the importance of artificial intelligence to global security
State the purpose and content of the book
Chapter 2: AI and Network Security
Analyze the application and challenges of AI in the field of network security
Discuss how to use AI technology to improve network security protection capabilities
Chapter 3: AI and Data privacy
Discuss the implications and challenges of AI for data privacy
Research how to protect personal privacy and data security
Chapter 4: AI and AI Weapons
The development and application of AI weapons are introduced
Analyze the impact and challenges of AI weapons on global security
Chapter 5: International cooperation and regulation
Explore how to establish an effective international cooperation mechanism to ensure the peaceful, safe and controllable development of AI technology
Examine how to strengthen regulatory and legal systems to prevent abuse and harm of AI technology
Chapter 6: Conclusions and recommendations
Summarize the main points and conclusions of the book
Offer advice and outlook for global leaders”
That was a good chapter outline for the proposed book. It covered some of the most important and relevant issues and challenges that AI poses to global security, such as network security, data privacy, AI weapons, and international cooperation and regulation. The outline was clear and logical, and it showed the structure and content of the book.
Finally, I wanted to ask ERNIE Bot for a cover for the book:
Eureka! That was a decent cover. The image of the globe was too generic, and it did not capture the essence of the book. However, it had one relevant feature: an artificial human with a stylized brain, a detail that matched the topic perfectly. This detail hinted at the intriguing and complex relationship between AI and humanity, and the challenges and opportunities that it entails.
The final result looks impressive
A couple of more details and a professional book cover was created:
Overall, ERNIE Bot impressed me with its performance and potential. It was clear that the bot excels in Chinese, its native language, while it still needs some improvement in English, its second language. Its memorization and multimodal capabilities are remarkable features that enhance its conversational skills and intelligence. Although I did not have the chance to test all of its capabilities, I am convinced that Baidu has created a formidable competitor to any of the globally available chatbots. ERNIE Bot is a powerful and versatile AI assistant that can handle various tasks and scenarios with ease and efficiency.