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AI industry vital for China’s economic development, says Baidu CTO

ANN/CHINA DAILY – The artificial intelligence (AI) industry holds great significance for the development and unlocking of potential in the Chinese economy, said Baidu’s chief technology officer (CTO).

From the evolution of PCs and mobile internet to the integration of digital technology, particularly AI, with the physical economy, industries are undergoing a transformative shift toward intelligence, Wang Haifeng said in a written interview with the China Daily website during the 2023 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit.

He shared that China’s diverse and extensive industrial system, coupled with rich AI applications, is facilitating the transformation and upgrade of various sectors.

Large language models like Ernie serve as universal empowerment platforms, enabling intelligent transformations across industries, Wang said.

This accelerates China’s AI industry development, driving technological progress, industrial upgrades and overall productivity gains, thereby injecting momentum into the nation’s economic development.

The AI-powered generation platform Wenxin Yige at Baidu World 2023 in Beijing, China. PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

Baidu, as a leading AI company with extensive expertise and a comprehensive strategy in core technologies, is committed to breaking through key technologies.

It has accumulated experience in speech and computer vision for perception, natural language processing and knowledge graph for cognition, as well as foundational technologies such as deep learning frameworks and platforms, large language models and AI chips, said Wang.

The Chinese tech giant also continues to reduce the application barriers of artificial intelligence technologies, aiming to drive industrial upgrades and promote greater AI in different sectors, said the officer.

Accelerating the integration of AI into sectors such as manufacturing, city governance, energy, transportation, finance and media, will make industries and people’s lives become more “intelligent”.

In response to the question regarding how Baidu achieves high-quality development through technological innovation, the chief technology officer said that Baidu boasts a strong team with advanced technical skills.

Their expertise in large language models and patents is crucial for improving Baidu’s products.

Its innovation is based on real needs in products and industries, allowing them to quickly turn new technologies into useful applications. Over the years, Baidu’s continuous innovation has led to many important developments, shaping the path of both technology and industries, Wang said.

Baidu’s AI technologies, such as deep learning and large language models, are used in search, maps, translation and its smart hardware.

The company unveiled the latest version of its large language model, Ernie 4.0, at Baidu World 2023, the company’s annual flagship event held in Beijing.

It has introduced a model for large-scale production and application, streamlining the complex process of model production for companies with capabilities in algorithms, computing power and data.

This approach is similar to chip factories, Wang added, and the practical application of Ernie has been validated through collaborations with leading companies and institutions in diverse sectors.

The recent launch of Ernie 4.0 has further accelerated the model’s practical use, with many business partners integrating it to enhance their operations.