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More news on AI in search

As widely predicted, Google has announced that it is bringing more AI-powered features into its search results …but Microsoft has gone one step further. Google’s new features were promised in a blog post by the firm’s CEO on Monday, announcing Bard, “a new experimental conversational service” powered by (Google’s) Language Model for Dialogue Applications.

The post said: “Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence, and creativity of our large language models. It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses. Today we’re opening Bard up to trusted external testers. We’ll combine their feedback with our own internal testing to make sure Bard’s responses meet our high bar for quality, safety, and groundedness and we will make it more widely available in coming weeks.”

In practice, expect to see Google respond to longer queries with longer answers, and perhaps offer a separate service similar to the astonishingly successful ChatGPT, which is already the fastest-growing consumer application in history. That product, of course, has Microsoft as its major investor, and yesterday – inside 24 hours – the rival held a special press event with some big announcements.

Bing leaps ahead

Microsoft had already announced Teams Premium, with an ‘intelligent recap’ feature that automatically generates notes, tasks, and highlights of meetings using GPT-3.5. It’s an astonishing concept. But the big news was, in the words of CEO Satya Nadella, “a new day for search.”

As Techcrunch reports: “Bing now features the option to start a chat in its toolbar, which then brings you to a ChatGPT-like conversational experience. One major point to note here is that while OpenAI’s ChatGPT bot was trained on data that only covers to 2021, Bing’s version is far more up-to-date and can handle queries related to far more recent events (think today, not 2021).”

The full experience requires joining a waiting list, but there’s a preview available now – just visit Bing’s home page and see that big shiny new chat box. Microsoft is also launching a new version of its Edge browser immediately, with new AI features built into the sidebar.

End of days

Where this will all end is anyone’s guess. There’s a good Scientific American piece on the types of development above here. However, although so-called ‘generative AI’ may be creating the headline-creating products at the moment, we are only beginning to see what artificial intelligence can do. I’m genuinely convinced now that this is a technological development as significant as the printing press or the internet. A long article about the dangers can be found on Wikipedia here. I’d warn you not to read it at bedtime though.



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