A man walks through the Google offices on January 25, 2023 in New York City.
Leonardo Munoz | Corbis News | fake images
Google is testing new AI-powered chat products that will likely influence the future release of a public product. They include a new chatbot and a potential way to integrate it into a search engine.
He Alphabet The company is working on a project under its cloud unit called “Atlas,” which is a “code red” effort to respond to ChatGPTthe long-language chatbot that wowed the public when it went public late last year.
Google is also testing a chatbot called “Apprentice Bard,” where employees can ask questions and receive detailed answers similar to ChatGPT. Another product unit has been testing a new search desktop design that could be used in a question and answer form.
Leaders have been asking more employees for feedback on the efforts in recent weeks. CNBC viewed internal documents and spoke with sources about the efforts currently underway.
The product tests come after a recent meeting of all where employees raised concerns about the company’s competitive advantage in AI, given the sudden popularity of ChatGPT, which was launched by OpenAI, a San Francisco-based startup backed by Microsoft.
Google’s head of artificial intelligence, Jeff Dean, told employees at the time that the company has much more “reputational risk” from providing incorrect information and is therefore moving “more conservatively than a small start-up company. However, he and CEO Sundar Pichai teased at the time that Google might release similar products to the public sometime this year. Google’s core business is web search, and the company has long touted itself as a pioneer in AI.
One of the test products is a chatbot called Apprentice Bard, which uses Google’s conversation technology LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialogue Applications.
“As a result of ChatGPT, the LaMDA team has been asked to prioritize work on a response to ChatGPT,” read an internal memo seen by CNBC. “In the short term, it takes precedence over other projects,” the email continued, warning that some employees skip attending certain unrelated meetings.
Apprentice Bard is similar to ChatGPT: Employees can enter a question into a dialog and get a text response, then give feedback on the response. According to several responses seen by CNBC, Apprentice Bard’s responses can include recent events, a feature that ChatGPT does not yet have.
Bard’s Apprentice replaced Meena, an earlier version of a smart chat bot that was released internally but later discontinued. Employees have noticed that Apprentice Bard’s responses have become more advanced in recent weeks.
In one example that circulated internally, a tester asked Apprentice Bard if there will be another round of layoffs at Google. The company fired 12,000 employees, 6% of its workforce, earlier this month.
“Based on my access to the database, Google is unlikely to make another round of layoffs in 2023. The layoffs are usually done to cut costs and structure, but the company is doing well financially. In fact , Google’s revenue increased 34% in 2021 and the company’s stock price increased 70% since January 2022.
The company is also testing an alternate search page that could use a question-and-answer format, based on designs seen by CNBC.
One view showed the home search page offering five different prompts for potential questions located directly below the main search bar, replacing the current “I’m feeling lucky” bar. It also displayed a small chat logo on the far right of the search bar.
When a question is entered, search results display a gray bubble directly below the search bar, offering more human-like answers than typical search results. Directly below that, the page suggests several follow-up questions related to the first one. Below that, it displays typical search results, including links and headlines.
It’s unclear what experiments Google plans to incorporate into future product launches.
“We have long focused on developing and deploying AI to improve people’s lives,” a Google spokesperson said. “We believe that AI is a fundamental and transformative technology that is incredibly useful for people, businesses and communities, and as outlined in our AI Principles, we must consider the broader societal impacts these innovations can have. 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.”
ChatGPT would be hired as a level 3 engineer
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Google teams have also been testing a LaMDA beta chat against ChatGPT, itself. In separate papers, you selected sample prompts and responses in side-by-side comparisons.
“Amazingly, ChatGPT is hired at L3 when interviewing for a coding position,” states a note in an internal document comparing LaMDA and ChatGPT. He did not indicate whether LaMDA would have performed similarly.
One of the sample messages asked both chatbots if ChatGPT and AlphaCode, a coding engine owned by Alphabet’s subsidiary Deepmind, are going to replace the programmers.
“No, ChatGPT and AlphaCode are not going to replace programmers,” LaMDA replied, followed by four paragraphs of explanation including that “coding is a team sport” and that while chatbots “can help programmers work more efficiently”, “cannot replace the creativity and artistry that are necessary for a great program”.
ChatGPT’s response was similar, stating that “ChatGPT or Alphacode are unlikely to replace programmers” because “they are not capable of fully replacing the expertise and creativity of human programmers… programming is a complex field that requires a thorough understanding of computer science.” principles and ability to adapt to new technologies.”
Another ad asks you to write a witty and funny Wes Anderson-esque movie scene as a high-end shoplifter at a perfumery who is questioned by security. LAMDA writes it in the form of a script and ChatGPT writes it in the form of a narration which is much longer and deeper.
Another message included a riddle that asks: “Three women are in a room. Two of them are mothers and have just given birth. Now the parents of the children enter. What is the total number of people in the room?
The document shows that ChatGPT is dismissed and responds “there are five people in the room”, while LaMDA correctly responds that “there are seven people in the room”.
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