Baidu unveiled an artificial-intelligence chip called Kunlun during its annual Baidu Create event on Tuesday. The company joins a raft of other Chinese firms in designing hardware tailored for machine learning.
Seven years: Kunlun is optimized for various AI tasks, including voice recognition, natural-language processing, image recognition, and autonomous driving. Baidu first started making customized AI processors using FPGAs (a kind of chip that can be reconfigured on the fly) in 2011. The new design is 30 times faster than the original FPGA-based processor, but the company says it’s not ready to begin mass-producing it yet.
AI everywhere: Baidu’s AI capabilities are developing fast. The company’s driverless minibuses will soon be deployed on power plant campuses in China. EasyDL, a deep-learning tool the company developed for people with very little technical training, is enabling doctors to DIY diagnostic aids such as more efficient parasite screening.
Why it matters: Customized hardware will help Baidu scale up its AI capabilities at lower cost. China’s weak semiconductor industry has also become the focus of national soul-searching following the ZTE debacle. This is, perhaps, the latest sign that the escalating trade tensions with the US are galvanizing China’s interest in fundamental technology.
The inside story of how ChatGPT was built from the people who made it
Exclusive conversations that take us behind the scenes of a cultural phenomenon.
ChatGPT is about to revolutionize the economy. We need to decide what that looks like.
New large language models will transform many jobs. Whether they will lead to widespread prosperity or not is up to us.
Sam Altman invested $180 million into a company trying to delay death
Can anti-aging breakthroughs add 10 healthy years to the human life span? The CEO of OpenAI is paying to find out.
GPT-4 is bigger and better than ChatGPT—but OpenAI won’t say why
We got a first look at the much-anticipated big new language model from OpenAI. But this time how it works is even more deeply under wraps.
Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review
Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.