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AI December 29, 2022

Is the New AI Search You.com Better than Google?

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What is You.com All About?
Is this what it looks like when an AI "thinks"?

By adding an AI chatbot, youChat, to its search engine, You.com attracted the notice of many an internet user last week.

“Trying out You.com because people are excited about their chat bot. First observation: their disclaimer. Here’s this thing we’re putting up for everyone to use while also knowing (and saying) that it actually doesn’t work,” Emily Bender wrote.

It’s not surprising because until very recently not many people had heard of You.com and its products.

Also read: The Chatbot AI War Is Here and Google May Be Collateral Damage

What is You.com?

You.com prides itself as a privacy-focused search engine that  “summarizes the best parts of the internet for you” without ads and with great privacy, a departure from the traditional search engine.

Is the New AI Search You.com Better than Google?

Does You.com’s search bar remind you of anything?

The company was founded by former employees of Salesforce and was launched last November.

Its co-founder and CEO Richard Socher said he wanted a search engine with a “balance of privacy and personalization.”

After the search engine announced it would open the public beta, it successfully raised $20 million in funding from Marc Benioff, the Salesforce founder.

“We believe that you should control your search: your privacy, results, and time,” the company said.

According to Benioff, You.com’s AI helps users find the most relevant results from the web and apps that one can sort and prioritize for optimum search experience. 

Uses Bing

Unlike Google, the king of search, You.com does not store any sensitive data and is customizable. The search engine displays results from searches that are sorted by specific websites. And such categories can be sorted by the user.

However, the company uses Microsoft Bing‘s results for web results.

Is the New AI Search You.com Better than Google?

You.com’s search results.

But, instead of a host of links when one runs a search, You.com’s results are sorted into rows, each one with a number of options from sites such as Twitter, Reddit and BBC, and images and other traditional search results.

The company, like many other smaller search engines, is reliant on other engines such as Yelp’s catalogues of businesses, LinkedIn and Wikipedia for facts.

No plan to make money

At its launch last year, Socher said the company has no immediate plans to make money, a development many felt would free it from taking on ads and resist takeover bids from the big tech behemoths who may see value in the startup.

The You.com CEO believes that although the entire economy has moved online, Google was still a gatekeeper.

“They are invading privacy to squezze out more and more performance,” he said in an interview with the Washington Post.

Instead, as part of its privacy mantra, the search engine does not store users’ IP addresses and shies away from collecting users’ information for targeting ads. The only data the company stores is used to improve one’s search and is never sold or distributed to third parties, the company says.

When a user browses in fully private “incognito” mode, the search engine will not collect data. But when one searches in regular mode, the engine collects data but only for purposes of customizing one’s results and has no targeted ads.

Is the New AI Search You.com Better than Google?

This is a marked departure from an already established business model where such ads contribute to revenue in a big way. It’s competitor, Google, and social networks like Facebook store all data and monetize on it by selling targeted ads to customers.

When you sign in to You.com, the website will give you control over the websites you want to see in your results. 

Christmas gift

The company launched its youChat bot last week much to the delight of many tech enthusiasts. “Christmas came early: Today we wanted to gift you with biggest disruption search has seen in years. @YouSearchEngine has been running at light speed to deliver YouChat – a conversational interface that’s aware of recent events and has citations. 👉 you.com/search?q=what,” says Sami Rahman.

He wasnt the only hyping the youChat bot ahead of its launch.

But not everyone is impressed by the chatbot. 

“So you.com makes itself relevant by adding a chat component, which supposedly grounds its answer in real documents via refs, and handles recent content. Looks neat! I am curious how much of it is a thin wrapper over gpt+bing, vs internal dev. I suspect former,” a user says.

AI reliant

The search engine relies on AI, particularly machine learning and deep learning, to better understand and to give preferences while websites and sources are presented as “apps” on the search results. This way, one can discover answers at a glance, dive deep into specific findings, or take action directly from search results.

Is the New AI Search You.com Better than Google?

The company currently doesn’t have ads. But its not ruling out ads completely in the future.

“We will never have targeted, privacy-invading ads. We will never follow you around the internet or sell your data,” the company says.

We may have private (i.e. query-dependent) ads in the future. For example, if you search for an air compressor, you may see an air compressor ad, but it won’t be linked to you and it won’t invade your privacy.”

The search engine is currently getting a somewhat negligible amount of revenue from affiliate links and get part of the earnings for some of the products in the Walmart app.

In summary so far; the You.com search engine delivers a great overview of what’s available online and via apps, and is a welcomed alternative to Google’s rather stale search results page.

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Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney.

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Italy Bans AI Chatbot Replika – EU Hastening AI Regulation

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Can AI Be Our Lawyer? ‘Robot Lawyer’ to Test That in US Court

Replika, US-based artificially intelligent chatbot, was banned in Italy. It was prohibited by Italy’s Data Protection Agency (GPDP), which said on Friday that it cited its risk to minors and emotionally fragile people, Reuters reported.

Replika was launched in 2017 as a San Francisco startup offering customers personalized avatars that talk and listen to them.

Also Read: ‘AI Will Affect White Collar Jobs too’

It was quite popular among English speakers and is free to use. However, it was generating $2 million per month via the sale of bonus features such as voice chats.

Replika is marketed as a “virtual friend,” with abilities to improve the emotional well-being of the user.

During account creation, the platform merely requests a user’s name, email account and gender, GPDP claimed.

“And the ‘replies’ served by the chatbot are often clearly in conflict with the enhanced safeguards children and vulnerable individuals are entitled to. Several reviews on the two main App Stores include comments by users flagging sexually inappropriate contents,” said GPDP.

However, the Italian regulator stated that the AI chatbot’s intervention in the user’s mood “may increase the risk for individuals still in a development stage or in a state of emotional fragility.”

The Italian watchdog cited the lack of an age verification system and the failure to filter users who do not provide their true age.

Replika breaches European Privacy Regulations and processes personal data unlawfully as it cannot be based, even implicitly, on a contract that a minor is unable to sign, GPDP said.

“Replika’s developer, the U.S. company Luka Inc., must notify the Italian authority of measures taken to implement its requirements in 20 days and could be fined up to 20 million euros ($21.80 million), or up to 4 percent of its global annual turnover, may be imposed by the SA,” said GPDP in its statement.

EU Rushing AI Regulation

The launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT has raised concerns globally. EU industry leader Thierry Breton has announced new AI regulations to address the risks posed by the ChatGPT chatbot and AI technology.

OpenAI has recently launched a premium version of ChatGPT after being rated the fastest-growing consumer platform in history.

Breton said the risk posed by ChatGPT and the AI system underscored the urgent need for rules, which he proposed last year in a bid to set the global standard for the technology and are under discussion in Brussels.

“As showcased by ChatGPT, AI solutions can offer great opportunities for businesses and citizens, but can also pose risks. This is why we need a solid regulatory framework to ensure trustworthy AI brd on high-quality data,” said Breton.

Breton is seeking co-operation from OpenAI and developers of high-risk AI systems to ensure compliance with the proposed AI Act.

“Just the fact that generative AI has been newly included in the definition shows the speed at which technology develops and that regulators are struggling to keep up with this pace,” a partner at a U.S. law firm, said.

AI has become a hot topic and has consistently made headlines due to its rapid development in recent years, attracting the attention of lawmakers for law enforcement.

ChatGPT, in particular, has emerged as the best cheating partner for college students and a major headache for academic institutions.

 

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ChatGPT Makes History With Fastest 100M Users as StackOverflow Stumbles

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ChatGPT Makes History With Fastest 100M Users as StackOverflow Stumbles

ChatGPT, the popular chatbot from OpenAI, is now the fastest growing Internet application in history with a record 100 million monthly active users in January, according to a new report by Swiss investment bank UBS.

This comes as web traffic at developer knowledge-sharing platform StackOverflow slumped 11.5% to 247 million since the launch of ChatGPT. OpenAI, a private company backed by Microsoft Corp., launched ChatGPT as a free web interface in late November.

Also read: OpenAI Develops Tool to Spot AI-Written Texts

The AI-powered chatbot became incredibly popular with users thanks to its ability to perform a variety of tasks within seconds. In the U.S. tech hub of Silicon Valley, the conversation tool has virtually sparked off an artificial intelligence (AI) ‘arms race.’

13M ChatGPT users per day

Citing data from analytics firm Similarweb, UBS said in its report that the number of people using ChatGPT averaged about 13 million per day in January – double the number recorded in December. These are all distinct individuals, or unique users, it stated.

“In 20 years following the internet space, we cannot recall a faster ramp in a consumer internet app,” UBS analysts noted, according to Reuters.

By comparison, TikTok took about nine months after its global launch to get to 100 million users and Meta’s Instagram two and half years.

ChatGPT is a large language model developed by OpenAI. It has been trained on a diverse range of internet text to generate human-like responses to user prompts. The tool is based on OpenAI’s GPT-3.5 language technology, an upgrade of the GPT-3 model released in 2020.

The chatbot was trained with a lot of data, from books and articles to conversations. It can understand a variety of topics and contexts, and can be fine-tuned for multiple language tasks such as question answering, language translation, and text summarization.

ChatGPT accumulated more than one million users within its first week. The bot has transformed several industries since it was released just over two months ago. It can write complex essays, poetry, code and even pass MBA exams at the Wharton School of Business.

While ChatGPT is popular with some, others are concerned about the impact it will have on education and other industries. Gmail creator Paul Buchheit said recently ChatGPT-like tech will destroy Google’s $149 billion search engine business and dominance in two years.

StackOverflow traffic declines

Meanwhile, the rise of ChatGPT has started to affect rival StackOverflow, the Naspers-owned question and answer website for professional and enthusiast programmers.

According to Similarweb, the number of people visiting the StackOverflow website fell 11.5% just weeks after the launch of ChatGPT. On average, users dropped from almost 279 million in November 2022 to 247.4 million by the end of December 2022.

StackOverflow dropped 30 positions in the “Programming and Developer Software” websites category, falling from the 202nd position in October 2022 to 229th by the end of December 2022. It is the company’s lowest ranking in that category since October 2019, the data says.

The website serves as a platform for users to ask and answer questions, and, through membership and active participation, to vote questions and answers up or down similar to Reddit. They can also edit questions and answers in a fashion similar to a Wiki.

In December, StackOverflow banned the use of answers generated using ChatGPT, citing concerns about the accuracy of such responses.

“…because the average rate of getting correct answers from ChatGPT is too low, the posting of answers created by ChatGPT is substantially harmful to the site and to users who are asking or looking for correct answers,” the company said in a statement.

As MetaNews previously reported, the computational resources required to run ChatGPT over large scales are very costly. OpenAI has now launched a paid subscription service known as ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month, hoping that will help to cover costs.

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Microsoft Warns Employees Not to Share Sensitive Data with ChatGPT

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Microsoft Warns Employees Not to Share Sensitive Data with ChatGPT

Microsoft has warned its employees not to share sensitive data with an artificially intelligent (AI) chatbot, ChatGPT from OpenAI. Employees of American multinational tech giants had asked in an internal forum whether ChatGPT or any other AI tools from OpenAI were appropriate to use at their work, Business Insider reported.

Also read: 30% of College Students Use ChatGPT

In response to that inquiry, a senior engineer from Microsoft’s CTO office allowed to use ChatGPT but couldn’t share confidential information with the AI chatbot.

“Please don’t send sensitive data to an OpenAI endpoint, as they may use it for training future models,” the senior engineer wrote in an internal post, per Insider.

ChatGPT, here only for two months, is already raising concerns in the academic sector. Microsoft has become a partner of OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, and has confirmed an investment of ten billion dollars.

Microsoft is planning to integrate OpenAI’s technology into its products, including the Bing search engine and other software, to enhance their capabilities, as reported previously.

The major concern of Microsoft regarding “sensitive information” may include sharing internal software code and seeking checks and advice from the chatbot.

Amazon’s Same Concern

ChatGPT has continuously made headlines since its launch last November but has also faced bans, especially in the academic sector as it became the cheating partner for students’ schoolwork. Recently, the tech giants have also raised their concerns over its use.

Amazon warned its employees to beware of ChatGPT last week, as reported by Insider. Insider claims that an Amazon lawyer has urged employees not to share code with ChatGPT via an internal communication form.

“This is important because your inputs may be used as training data for a further iteration of ChatGPT, and we wouldn’t want its output to include or resemble our confidential information (and I’ve already seen instances where its output closely matches existing material),” the lawyer wrote.

The lawyer placed more emphasis on requesting that employees not share “any Amazon confidential information” (including Amazon code they are working on) with ChatGPT via Slack.

Personal Data Concern

As concerns about data privacy grow among large corporations, an OpenAI representative has directed questions about the company’s data and privacy policy to ChatGPT’s FAQ page. The terms of service of OpenAI grant the company the right to use all input and output generated by ChatGPT users, with the stipulation that personally identifiable information (PII) is removed from the used data.

However, it’s quite impossible for OpenAI to identify and remove all the personal information from the data provided to ChatGPT, says Emily Bender, who teaches computational linguistics at the University of Washington.

“OpenAI is far from transparent about how they use the data, but if it’s being folded into training data, I would expect corporations to wonder: After a few months of widespread use of ChatGPT, will it become possible to extract private corporate information with cleverly crafted prompts?” said Bender.

Vincent Conitzer, a computer science professor and director of an AI lab at Carnegie Mellon University, said, “All of us together are going to have to figure out what should be expected of everyone in these situations. Is the responsibility on employees to not share sensitive information, or is the responsibility on OpenAI to use information carefully, or some combination?”

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