Why don’t we stop talking about artificial intelligence? Fight for advertising revenue that determines the future of the Internet | technology

Suddenly, it looks like Google has been messing around for the past decade. The great global dominator of search engines has gone from being the leading technology company in artificial intelligence (AI) to seemingly being overtaken by Microsoft’s new proposal in just a few days. The CEO of the latter company, Satya Nadella, last week presented a revamped Bing search engine, which will include a chatbot developed by OpenAI, responsible for the popular ChatGPT.

Google programmed Microsoft by announcing Bard, its own version of a browser with smart chat, the day before. But he was not able to show how it worked, not even at a major event for the international press organized in Paris two days later, and attended by EL PAÍS. The only thing to see there, in fact, took its toll: the recorded example of the Bard’s intelligent search gave incorrect telescope information James Webb. Shares of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, fell 8% that day. Markets punished this bug, realizing that those from Mountain View were a response to Microsoft’s challenge.

Why all the sudden interest in artificial intelligence? Because ChatGPT has shown its potential to the general public. Although the tool invents content, many believed that with a few tweaks, it could revolutionize the search engine experience. Getting information by talking to the machine is more fun than typing in keywords. It is also interesting to be able to ask him to create texts of a certain complexity, such as abstracts, tracks or essays. great language paradigms (large language modelsLLM) makes this possible, although its reliability is still in the balance.

Some already believe that the hybridization of generative AI and traditional search engines may be the biggest innovation in consumer technology since Apple released its first iPhone. Bing, which has always lived in the shadow of Google (3% and 90% of the global share of search engines, respectively), is threatening for the first time the quiet era of color-character technology.

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The elephant in the room

But the frantic race to lead the development of increasingly intelligent search engines is more than just riding the wave. Control over the world’s most used search engine and web browser has allowed Alphabet and Meta to dominate the global advertising market for more than a decade, earning an average annual income of $220 billion. This rain of money allowed him to buy up strategic companies and launch a wide variety of projects. Among them, his self-driving car is Waymo or Calico, the anti-aging biotechnology company.

This boom may be coming to an end. Last year was the first since 2014 that Alphabet and Meta together accounted for less than 50% of the global ad market, specifically 48.4%. This is the fifth year in a row that this number has fallen since it peaked in 2017 (54.7%), and analysts expect it will continue to decline. Reasons: TikTok has been going strong, and is already the search engine of choice for many young adults; Amazon and Apple are also growing, as they allow Appshurt Meta’s business.

You might run out of great advertising for Google and Facebook. In his second years, he decided what his response to this problem and inability to attract a young audience would be: the metaverse. For its part, Google has no plan B beyond artificial intelligence. They have been investing in this technology for decades. This would explain his hasty reaction to Microsoft’s bet.

Reckless racing

Nadella has changed Microsoft’s direction in less than a decade. When the CEO took over the company in 2014, his income was based almost exclusively on Windows and the Office suite. He decided to bet big on cloud services and artificial intelligence. azure, zoning clouds, already responsible for a quarter of the group’s sales. Two years ago, Microsoft invested 1,000 million in OpenAI, to which this year, after checking the phenomenal success of ChatGPT among the general public, it added another 10 thousand to develop a conversational chatbot that would accompany its search engine.

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What did you do while Alphabet? Among other things, it laid the foundations of the technology from which chatbots drink today, as company executives have been keen to highlight recently. Its Google Brain division and the British company DeepMind, which it acquired in 2014, are among the global elite in this discipline. As the tech company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, stated last week, the Transformer research project and its founding article, presented in 2017, is the foundation upon which the scientific community has built so-called advanced generative AI.

Bard, Google’s bet to make its search engine smart, is a pocket version of LaMDA, one of Google’s most advanced language model projects. LaMDA was introduced two years ago, and made international headlines last summer, when engineer Blake Lemoine, who was tasked with reviewing the ethical underpinnings of robot responses, said that, in his view, AI had gained consciousness. DeepMind, for its part, plans to offer a beta version of its own model this year, which it has dubbed Sparrow.

Denial of the impact that disabling ChatGPT has had on the strategy of big tech companies is, at this point, unconvincing. However, this is what Prabhakar Raghavan, Vice President of Alphabet and one of the multinational’s most powerful CEOs, did last week. “We have been following our roadmap in the development of artificial intelligence for years. ChatGPT has not affected us at all. However, it is a fact that Google introduced Bard, he confirmed on Wednesday in Paris in a meeting with various media outlets, including EL PAÍS. But without a release date.Raghavan himself said they didn’t have an approximate number: “What matters most to us is achieving the quality we want the service to have.”

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The technology industry is given to move as per the trends. Obviously, generative AI is hype Moment. In addition to Microsoft and Google, Chinese tech giant Baidu also announced last week that it’s working on its own version of a smart browser-chatbot hybrid. For its part, Meta canceled Project Galactica in November, a language model capable of producing scholarly articles based on millions of previously analyzed documents, because it quickly proved sexist and racist.

In order to prevail, search engines with chat must prove that they provide reliable information. It’s not easy. Examples of invented ChatGPT content have flooded social networks in recent months. Bard inadvertently showed an error in his presentation (the one about the telescope James Webb) at last week’s event. Bing, currently in its testing phase, also invents content if the nails are driven.

Some of the world’s leading experts warn against wanting to move this technology forward too quickly. “Large language models should be used in writing tools, and nowhere else,” said Yann LeCun, head of AI research at Meta and an expert in the field. As Demis Hassabis, CEO of DeepMind (Google), points out, these tools require tread carefully: “It’s OK to be careful on that front,” he says. This warning stands out, for now, by its absence.

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