Google Fears ChatGPT, Joins Founders Brin and Page in AI Fight

A very menacing ChatGPT is shown exploding into the scene.
enlarge / An illustration of a chatbot exploding with a very menacing scene.

Ben Edwards / Ars Technica

ChatGPT surprised Google. The New York Times reported on Friday that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had several emergency meetings with company executives about OpenAI’s new chatbot, which Google believes could threaten its $149 billion search business.

Created by OpenAI and released in late November 2022, the Large-Scale Language Model (LLM) known as ChatGPT wowed the world with its conversational capabilities to answer questions, generate text in a variety of styles, and aid programming.

Google is now scrambling to catch up, with CEO Sundar Pichai declaring “Code Red” to spur new AI development. According to the Times, Google hopes to unveil more than 20 new products and demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot capabilities at some point this year.

The NYT report quoted former Google Research Director D. Sivakumar as saying the internal urgency of the situation: ChatGPT built a stake by saying, ‘what a powerful new search experience will look like.’”

ChatGPT can answer questions about Nebraska, write programs, and even compose poetry.
enlarge / ChatGPT can answer questions about Nebraska, write programs, and even compose poetry.

ars technica

unequal Google Search, which works mainly through keywordS, chattingGPT purpose natural language process glean that much context of I beg your pardon all user is question, Then Create Best attempt related answer. Output of ChatGPT not always accurateBut its performance is convincing enough to explain the potentially interactive search interface that makes Google’s technology look outdated.

Perhaps because of this, Microsoft is reportedly working on a new version of the Bing search engine that will incorporate ChatGPT’s features. Microsoft made its first OpenAI investment in 2019 and recently announced a new $10 billion funding round.

Back at Google, Page and Brin have long been cheerleaders in bringing AI to Google products, though they haven’t been very involved with the search engine since retiring from their day-to-day roles in 2019. Their participation reflects the importance of the ChatGPT challenge within Google.

So far, according to the NYT, Google has responded to OpenAI by introducing rapid product approval reviews and tools to help other companies develop their own AI prototypes. Google also provides LaMDA, an AI language model, for software developers and other business image creation technologies.

Some wondered if Google thought it was too safe, worrying about the negative social or copyright implications of AI technology. Google appears to be recognizing this reluctance internally, and the NYT report notes that the company could potentially “recalibrate” the level of risk it takes with new AI technologies.

in TwitterOpenAI CEO Sam Altman mocked this line in a NYT article, saying that OpenAI aims to reduce the level of risk the company takes while continuing to roll out powerful new AI models.

Recalibration or not, Google says it’s committed to AI safety. “We continue to test our AI technology internally to make sure it is useful and safe, and we look forward to sharing more experiences with the outside world soon,” Google spokesperson Lily Lin told the NYT.

But while Google delays, the more nimble OpenAI is rolling out generative AI products that could disrupt not only Google, but the entire tech industry as OpenAI works towards its goal of creating more powerful AI technologies. Google’s response to this existential threat could determine the company’s success for years to come.

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