ChatGPT, the high-profile artificial intelligence chatbot of OpenAI, is such a serious threat to Google’s core business that the company’s co-founders re-engage with the search giant, The New York Times reported Friday.
Startup OpenAI debuted ChatGPT in November, and within a few days, more than a million people started applying for it with a huge variety of questions and requests. The artificial intelligence system has been trained on vast amounts of text on the Internet and can answer questions, compose essays, write computer programs and generate all sorts of information.
ChatGPT may sound authoritative, but it’s not always right, and you can’t tell where it gets its answers from. However, it’s impressive enough to be a viral hit on the internet, and it’s useful enough to Google reportedly declared a “code red” response to ChatGPT.
Now, at the urging of Sundar Pichai, chief executive of Google’s parent company Alphabet, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin are looking into the problem, the Times reported. They had largely withdrawn from day-to-day operational roles in 2019.
Google has a rival AI technology called PaLM, but it has not made that artificial intelligence system available for public use. And he’s an AI pioneer who invented the “transformer” technology that’s at the heart of great language models like PaLM and OpenAI’s ChatGPT foundation, GPT-3. In a blog post this week, the company outlined several areas where Google is using AIfor everything from suggesting email responses to placing ads.
Google did not comment on the co-founders’ moves or their stance on ChatGPT. But spokeswoman Lily Lin said that ensuring AI is used safely is important to the company.
“We believe that AI is a fundamental and transformative technology that is incredibly useful for individuals, businesses and communities, and as our AI principles scheme, we have to take into account the broader social impacts these innovations may have,” Lin said. “We continue to test our AI technology internally to make sure it’s useful and safe, and we look forward to sharing more experiences externally soon.”
Loup Ventures analyst Gene Munster sees ChatGPT, GPT-3 and long language models as a competitive threat to Google.
“One possible future is that these LLMs could be integrated into the backend of many of the technology services we use,” Munster said in a report on Friday. “This is the outcome that could hurt Google in the long run.”
Ultimately, though, Google should be able to withstand the threat, he predicted. With four services that each have more than a billion users and $60 billion in annual operating revenue from search, Google has “more than enough money to fund investments that will produce a competitor to ChatGPT.”
Editors’ note: CNET is using an artificial intelligence engine to create some personal finance explainers that are edited and verified by our editors. For more, see this post.
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