Baidu takes on Siri and Google Now with Duer AI assistant

9 Sep 2015

Chinese giant Baidu is getting in on the phone personal assistant game with the launch of Duer, marking a major improvement on the previous system launched on the Baidu app three years ago.

Baidu’s Duer, which effectively translates to ‘Du Secretary’ was given a major demonstration with aims of using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to challenge the systems developed by Apple and Google.

Much has been made of its development considering that one of the driving forces behind its machine-learning technology is world-renowned expert in the field Andrew Ng, who joined the company back in 2014.

Much like its competitors, Baidu’s Duer is working towards allowing the user to place orders online with services like buying cinema tickets or ordering takeaway food.

According to Tech In Asia, this first step into AI will be expanded into allowing for other services, including hailing a taxi and ordering other online goods.

Perhaps most interestingly, it is hoped Duer will engage with the internet of things (IoT) home by allowing it to control devices in the home as well as connect them with a healthcare provider.

When talking about Duer and its capabilities, Baidu has said it is “beyond simply indexing information, and beyond indexing services in the real world, to actually facilitating conversational interaction and providing a multitude of life services with the convenience of a personal assistant”.

All of this technology marks a significant improvement from its previous personal assistant launched in 2012 following the initial launches of Google Now and Siri, given that it was limited to basic topics such as weather reports.

Baidu app image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic