Tech giant Baidu takes Bing Chat on with Ernie-bot powered AI Mate

Baidu’s AI chatbot avoids a direct response to political questions, instead replying, “The content violates rules that it will not answer.”
Amal Jos Chacko
Illustration of an AI chatbot.jpg
Illustration of an AI chatbot.


With users flocking to try websites with Artificial Intelligence integrations and particularly those with chatbots, companies have been scrambling to update their services.

Chinese Internet and Artificial Intelligence behemoth Baidu has now joined the likes of Google and Microsoft with the incorporation of their “AI Mate” chatbot to its flagship online search product, reports South China Morning Post.

The chatbot is powered by Ernie Bot, an alternative to OpenAI’s ChatGPT unveiled by Baidu in March, and is currently in its beta phase.

Limited by a glaring lack of resources from outside China, AI Mate struggles to back its answers with credible sources, choosing to refer to domestic sources instead.

When asked about which US firms have developed ChatGPT-esque bots, AI Mate listed out Google, Replika,, and Baidu— an answer sourced from blog posts and articles on Chinese Software Developer Company and PCOnline, neither known as credible media sources.

Microsoft’s Bing, amid an OpenAI-powered resurgence, put up a commendable effort for the same question, listing out prominent companies such as Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook), Google, Microsoft, and Snap, and backed up its answer with references from multiple sources including American basic cable business news channel and website CNBC and the official site of Michael Bennet, US Senator from Colorado.

Limiting AI Mate— an effort at technology so reliant on resources and data— to a restricted set seems to be a well-thought-out move [/s]. Users could perhaps let the company know through the feedback box AI Mate provides the user on opening; feedback to help it improve. 

South China Morning Post observed a reluctance to answer political queries during a run-through of these newly introduced features. “The content violates rules that it will not answer”, replied AI Mate, swerving the question, when asked to assess Chinese state leaders.

Bing Chat chose to make a similar yet diplomatic take, saying it “cannot provide an opinion on this matter” being an AI language model while still offering reports from CNN and the New York Times.

Optimism amidst tighter rules

Despite these minor setbacks and new rules set by the Cyberspace Administration of China directing Chinese companies providing generative AI services to uphold the nation’s socialist values and refrain from generating content suggestive of regime subversion or disruption of economic or social order, technology companies in China are confident in their abilities.

Liu Qingfeng, founder and chairman of technology giant iFlytek, said that their Large Language Model (LLM), SparkDesk, was on-course to surpass ChatGPT in the Chinese-language market by October.

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