Whether you’re using Bing or Google, you get a similar page after entering your search terms. There are links to resources around the web, of course, but you may also see possible answers to your question and similar ones plucked from some of those pages. According to The Information, Microsoft sees ChatGPT as a way to stand out from Google by offering conversational answers to searches.
OpenAI made waves last year when it released ChatGPT, which is based on the latest GPT-3 language model. The neural network has been trained to assimilate data and spit out coherent sentences to create recipes, computer code, school essays, and web content (not this content, though — promise). You could imagine such an AI integrated into your search results, offering efficient summaries of all those links you don’t have time to visit. It’s a nice idea, in theory.
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has a word of warning for anyone who would rely entirely upon ChatGPT. He says it’s very good at some things, but we should not use it for anything “important.” Because ChatGPT can only work with the data it is given, it’s possible for the AI to generate text that sounds authoritative and accurate but is actually completely wrong. This is an even greater concern for controversial topics that require an understanding of context and sources to decide what is true. There’s also reasonable concern that AIs like this can have implicit racial and cultural biases that poison the results even when the bot is working from good data.
Microsoft sees AI as the future of its products. It has invested heavily in OpenAI, and it’s building a text-to-image model into Bing and Office based on the company’s DALL-E engine. There are a lot of ways a chatbot in search results could go wrong, though. Google is also deeply invested in AI, but it has not unleashed an AI chatbot in its search results due to the possible “reputational risk.” Imagine if Microsoft’s accidentally racist chatbot was giving people their search results rather than just running a Twitter account.
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