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Bard to Bing: Rise of ChatGPT fuels AI-based search chatbots

Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled Bard, an experimental conversational AI service, following a similar announcement from Microsoft recently

Tech companies and entrepreneurs have rolled out ambitious AI-powered plans. (Photo by Lionel Bonaventure/ AFP)
Tech companies and entrepreneurs have rolled out ambitious AI-powered plans. (Photo by Lionel Bonaventure/ AFP)

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On Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled Bard, “an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA.” This chatbot is presented as a rival to OpenAI's ChatGPT which was launched in Novemeber 2022. 

ChatGPT has gained 100 million users in two months, surpassing Instagram and TikTok which took two and half years and nine months, respectively to reach this target. Its increasing popularity had started the murmurs of disrupting Google's dominance in the tech space. Now, with Google announcing Bard, it seems the AI plans of big tech giants have escalated with the arrival of ChatGPT.

Developed by Elon Musk-backed OpenAI, ChatGPT is trained to follow instructions and provide detailed answers. According to OpenAI, “the dialogue format makes it possible for ChatGPT to answer follow-up questions, admit its mistakes, challenge incorrect premises, and reject inappropriate requests.”

Also read: Week in tech: From ChatGPT on Microsoft Teams to Musk’s debut Starship launch

The advanced artificial intelligence (AI) used by ChatGPT has hit the panic button for some tech giants and opened doors for others. Many such as Microsoft seem to have a renewed focus on their AI plans while Google seems to be strategising how to continue its dominance in the search space. 

Here are some ambitious AI plans of tech companies and entrepreneurs. 

Bard, ChatGPT’s rival

Last month Bloomberg has reported that Google has invested almost $400 million in artificial intelligence startup Anthropic, which is testing a rival to OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

Although the two companies didn’t comment on this, Google announced a partnership wherein Anthropic will use its cloud computing services.

On Tuesday, Pichai introduced, Bard, the conversational AI-service conversational powered by Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), on the Microsoft blog. He revealed that Google has opened it up to testers and will be making it widely available to the public in the coming weeks. 

Talking about Bard he said, it “draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses.” 

What can you ask Bard? Pichai describes it as an "outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills.

Teams meetings to get easier

In January, The Information reported that Microsoft is set to launch an AI-powered version of its search-engine Bing, using the technology behind OpenAI-launched chatbot ChatGPT and aims to challenge Alphabet-owned search engine Google. 

Continuing with its integration of artificial intelligence, earlier this month, Microsoft launched a premium version of Teams, one the most used apps, unlike Bing. The familiar Teams interface will now include Large Language Models powered by OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 which aims to make meetings “more intelligent, personalized, and protected—whether it’s one-on-one, large meetings, virtual appointments, or webinars.”

AI-powered Teams Premium will include an intelligent recap that includes automatically generated meeting notes, recommended tasks, and personalized highlights which will save time in reviewing meeting notes. It will also generate AI-generated chapters that will divide the meeting into sections, making it easy to select the most relevant content.

There will also be personalized timeline markers to revisit specific points in a meeting. For instance, when your name was mentioned, or the screen was shared.

The Teams Premium will also make it easier to include people speaking different languages in conversations and discussions. Real-time translations from 40 spoken languages will be possible because of live translations (for captions).  The organisation backgrounds and together mode scenes will enable users to use brand-approved backgrounds during meetings. 

To further improve privacy, the new options include watermarking and limiting who can record the meeting. IT-enabled users will be able to access the end-to-end encryption (E2EE) option for sensitive meetings. 

A personalised news feed

Co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger have launched Artifact, which they describe as “a personalized news feed using the latest AI tech.” Those interested need an invitation but sign up and join the waitlist. 

Systrom and Krieger left Instagram in September 2018, six years after Facebook purchased it for $1bn in cash and stock. Although there were reportedly tensions between the duo and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Systrom had said they were departing to “"explore our curiosity and creativity again"

According to the Verge, Artifact uses “uses machine learning to understand your interests and will soon let you discuss those articles with friends.”

The tech news website further explains that Artifact opens to a feed of popular articles chosen from a curated list ranging from leading news organizations to small-scale blogs about niche topics. 

Also read: ChatGPT: Almost 30% of professionals say they've used the AI tool at work

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