Apple And App Developers Sued By Baidu Over Fake Ernie Bot Apps

Baidu, the Chinese tech giant and largest competitor to Google Search, sued Apple and several app developers to stop the flood of fake bot apps of Ernie, the company's artificial intelligence-based chatbot.

Ernie (Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration) bot apps have been appearing in the App Store, Apple’s store for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and other content for Apple products.  A search of the App Store by Reuters on Saturday found at least four fake Ernie bot apps were still available.

The document, filed Friday in Beijing Haidian People's Court, aims to force Apple to take down the fake apps and stop app creators from offering the apps in its store. The company also posted a photograph of its court filing, according to Reuters.

“Until our company's official announcement, any Ernie app you see from App Store or other stores are fake," the statement via the official "Baidu AI" WeChat account reads, according to Apple Insider.

Ernie, Baidu’s artificial intelligence-powered chatbot, code is only accessible to users who apply for access.

Baidu created Ernie as an AI chatbot similar to ChatGPT and Google Bard. The company’s chief Executive Officer Robin Li introduced the chatbot earlier this year and said it would merge the technology into its search engine. The chatbot was developed in 2019 in an effort to improve search query results on Baidu’s search engine

Baidu in 2019 developed Ernie as a deep-learning model. The company has since developed dozens of similar deep-learning models and extended its capabilities to include image and art generation, similar to those of OpenAI’s Dall-E.

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