CEO of Baidu Cautions Against Overemphasizing Launching New LLMs Exclusively in China

CEO of Baidu Cautions Against Overemphasizing Launching New LLMs Exclusively in China

Baidu CEO Robin Li Yanhong has raised concerns about the current focus on creating large language models (LLMs) in China's tech industry. Li argues that this trend not only drains resources but also misses the opportunity to advance practical AI applications.

The Value of AI Lies in Its Application

Speaking at the X-Lake Forum in Shenzhen, Li highlighted the surge in AI model development in China, with 238 models launched as of October 2023. However, he noted a lack of AI-native applications that fully utilize the unique capabilities of AI, similar to how mobile-native apps revolutionized smartphone usage.

Li believes that the true value of AI lies in its application, rather than just the development of foundational models. He suggests a shift in focus towards creating a wide range of AI-native applications, comparable to the era that saw the rise of popular apps like WeChat, Douyin, and Uber, which were specifically designed for mobile usage.

Balancing Foundational Research and Application Development

Li's remarks also address a broader issue within the industry - the balance between foundational research and application development. While foundational models are crucial for advancing AI technology, their full potential is only realized when applied in practical, everyday scenarios.

Li further criticizes the trend of hoarding advanced semiconductors and building intelligent computing centers, which he deems an inefficient approach to AI development. He emphasizes the importance of having the right scale and training datasets to yield models with emergent abilities - the ability to perform complex tasks with minimal input.

Baidu's Role in AI Application Development

Baidu, the company led by Li himself, is actively engaged in developing AI applications. One example is Comate, a code-writing assistant. However, Li believes that the best AI-native applications, both in China and globally, are yet to come.

In conclusion, Li Yanhong, the CEO of Baidu, highlights the need to shift the focus from solely creating large language models to developing a wide range of AI-native applications. He emphasizes that the value of AI lies in its application and urges the industry to strike a balance between foundational research and practical development. Baidu itself is involved in AI application development, but according to Li, there is still much more potential to be unlocked in this field.

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