Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

Bing adds ChatGPT-like tech

- By Matt O’Brien

Microsoft is fusing ChatGPT-like technology into its search engine Bing, transformi­ng an internet service that now trails far behind Google into a new way of communicat­ing with artificial intelligen­ce.

The revamping of Microsoft’s second-place search engine could give the software giant a head start against other tech companies in capitalizi­ng on the worldwide excitement surroundin­g ChatGPT, a tool that has awakened millions of people to the possibilit­ies of the latest AI technology.

Along with adding it to Bing, Microsoft is also integratin­g the chatbot technology into its Edge browser. Microsoft announced the new technology at an event Tuesday at its headquarte­rs in Redmond, Wash.

Microsoft said it will gradually be rolling out the new Bing globally, but didn’t say when users would start to see it.

The strengthen­ing partnershi­p with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI has been years in the making, starting with a $1 billion investment from Microsoft in 2019 that led to the developmen­t of a powerful supercompu­ter specifical­ly built to train the San Francisco startup’s AI models.

While it’s not always factual or logical, ChatGPT’s mastery of language and grammar comes from having ingested a huge trove of digitized books, Wikipedia entries, instructio­n manuals, newspapers and other online writings.

The shift to making search engines more conversati­onal — able to confidentl­y answer questions rather than offering links to other websites — could change the advertisin­g-fueled search business, but also poses risks if the AI systems don’t get their facts right. Their opaqueness also makes it hard to source back to the original human-made images and texts they have effectivel­y memorized.

Google has been cautious about such moves. But in response to pressure over ChatGPT’s popularity, Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday announced a new conversati­onal service named Bard that will be available exclusivel­y to a group of “trusted testers” before being widely released later this year.

Google’s chatbot is supposed to be able to explain complex subjects such as outer-space discoverie­s in terms simple enough for a child to understand. It also claims the service will also perform other more mundane tasks, such as providing tips for planning a party, or lunch ideas based on what food is left in a refrigerat­or.

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