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The race of the IT companies for the ChatGPT competitors


Suddenly everything has to happen very quickly: When Google prematurely announces a competitor for the voice AI ChatGPT, Microsoft also wants to follow suit - and China's Internet company Baidu anyway.

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An Android smartphone in front of the blog post on Google's Bard: artificial intelligence everywhere you look

Photo: IMAGO/Jonathan Raa / IMAGO/NurPhoto

It all seemed so well planned.

Just under a week ago, Google had sent out invitations to the press.

Next Wednesday afternoon they want to show in Paris "how Google uses innovations in the field of artificial intelligence to redesign how people search for information and interact with them," it said.

Then the company suddenly got in touch on Monday evening.

In a blog post, it published its plans for a chatbot called Bard, the integration of new AI functions into its search and for programming interfaces with which external developers can also use Google AI in their applications.

Details on the planned systems could not be found in the blog post.

The information was also missing, which is why Google published this information on Monday and not, as expected and planned, on Wednesday.

But one can speculate.

Who knew from whom?

Google probably also noticed that Microsoft also sent out invitations to the press last week.

The Windows group has invested billions in OpenAI, the company that developed the text generator ChatGPT, which is currently making headlines every day.

It can be assumed that Microsoft wants to present details of how the technology should make its Bing search more attractive.

And that artificial intelligence is to be integrated into the Microsoft 365 office software to make it easier to use programs such as Word and Excel.

So it's possible that Google just wanted to be faster this time, wanted to occupy the topic for itself, at least this week.

Because, this is symptomatic of the situation, suddenly everything has to happen quickly, very quickly.

At least that's how it seems when you look at how billion-euro corporations are trying to push past the competition.

Duplex and Lambda

Google had actually approached the topic with plenty of calm, apparently seeing itself far ahead of everyone else with its tensor chips developed for AI applications and its AI research.

As early as 2018, the company presented a language model called Duplex, which could make reservations in restaurants and hairdressers by phone without being recognized as AI by the people on the other end.

Fearing that the system could be misused - for example for telephone fraud - it has so far remained with test runs.

In 2021, at its developer conference, the company had an AI that seems similar to ChatGPT conduct conversations in which it sometimes saw itself as a paper airplane, sometimes as the planet Pluto.

The audience applauded, impressed by what Google's »Language Model for Dialogue Applications«, or Lamda for short, was demonstrating.

At least until Google conceded that it was a record.

To date, not much more has been seen of this than a technology demonstration.

In his blog post, Sundar Pichai now gives an indication of why this is all taking longer than one might have hoped.

Bard will initially be published in a “simplified model version of LaMDA”, writes the Google boss.

That requires “significantly less computing power”.

Anyone who deals with ChatGPT more often suspects that this is a smart step, because the popular text generator often resembles an overcrowded Tokyo subway because of the large crowds, which you simply can't get on anymore.

"Ernie" and "Bard"

In any case, Microsoft's reaction to Google's announcement was not long in coming.

As soon as the Google blog post was online, the company from Redmond near Seattle made its event planned for tonight public.

The group had apparently previously invited some journalists under the seal of secrecy.

CEO Satya Nadella will "report progress on some exciting projects," announced Microsoft in the fight for attention.

Unlike Google, which wants to broadcast its Wednesday event online as a live stream, this information will initially only be shared with those who are there.

In the meantime, comparatively little attention was paid to the fact that the Chinese Internet company Baidu announced at almost the same time that it would be releasing an AI chatbot.

In Chinese, the system is called Wenxin Yiyan, which according to The Register translates as "Ernie," an acronym for "Enhanced Representation through Knowledge Integration," which goes surprisingly well with Google's "Bard."

Golden times

Ernie differs from other chatbots in "its ability to integrate extensive knowledge with extensive data, resulting in exceptional understanding and generation skills," said a Baidu spokesman for the British news portal.

What exactly you can do with it, he left open.

In return, he provided information on the company's schedule.

Internal tests are to be carried out until March, after which the chatbot should be made publicly available.

From Google's point of view, this should sound like a sporty schedule.

From an investor's point of view, it obviously sounds like golden times: in the hours after the announcement, the company's share price rose by up to 15 percent.

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-02-07

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