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Baidu CEO talks AI at 2024 VivaTech

By Fan Feifei | | Updated: 2024-05-23 17:03
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Robin Li, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Baidu Inc shared his thoughts on recent developments in AI at the 2024 VivaTech, Europe's biggest tech event in Paris, France. [Photo provided to]

The biggest difference between China and some Western countries in terms of artificial intelligence lie in the application, which is driving the rapid development of the AI industry in China, said Robin Li, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Chinese tech heavyweight Baidu Inc on Wednesday.

Li said in the United States and Europe, everybody is focusing on coming up with the cutting-edge foundation model. "In China, although there are also hundreds of foundation models, people are increasingly talking about what the super app is for the AI age, or what is the killer app or the AI native app," Li noted. "We take more of an application-driven approach."

Li made the remarks at the 2024 VivaTech, Europe's biggest tech event in Paris, France from Wednesday to Saturday. He emphasized that an application-driven approach can propel innovation in the foundation model and speed up the transformation from an internet age to an AI age.

In China, there are lots of startups and large internet companies, and everyone is trying very hard to figure out the so-called PMF, or product-market fit, Li said.

Talking of his desire to see the pace of AI improvement increase, Li said the fear is that AI technology is not improving fast enough. "Everyone is shocked at how fast the technology has evolved over the past couple of years, but to me it's still not fast enough. It's too slow," he noted.

"More people probably are focused on when GPT-5 is coming out, and what kind of new features we will be offering, but I'm more interested in what kind of application can take full advantage of the existing power of large language models," he said.

Ernie Bot, Baidu's conversational AI chatbot released in March 2023, now has accumulated 200 million users, Li said, adding Ernie 4.0, its latest LLM is better than GPT-4 in Chinese because the company used a lot more Chinese data to train that model.

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