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AI February 9, 2023

Microsoft Remakes Bing Using ChatGPT Tech, Takes on Google’s Dominance



Microsoft Remakes Bing Using ChatGPT Tech, Takes on Google’s Dominance

Microsoft announced on Tuesday the launch of its remodeled Bing search engine and Edge web browser. Both are powered by the artificial intelligence (AI) technology behind ChatGPT, as the U.S. tech company takes on Google’s market dominance.

Chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said that Bing will provide more than just a list of search results. It will also respond to questions with more detail, chat with users and generate content as requested by users in their queries. He called these tools an “AI copilot for the web.”

Also read: Unlike Bitcoin, ChatGPT Creator Mira Murati Wants AI Regulated

“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all – search,” said Nadella, in a blog post. “Today, we’re launching Bing and Edge powered by AI copilot and chat, to help people get more from search and the web.”

Nadella revealed that Bing will run on a more “powerful” large language model from OpenAI than the one which supports ChatGPT. It is customized specifically for search, he said, and combines improvements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5 to be “faster and more accurate.”

Microsoft CEO: AI ‘race starts today’

The Microsoft update comes as ChatGPT, the popular OpenAI conversational tool, sparked off an AI arms race since it was launched in late November. The chatbot uses AI to generate human-like responses on almost every topic, including wrting essays, poetry and code.

On Monday, a day before the Microsoft reveal, Google unveiled its new AI chatbot tool called “Bard”, as a direct response to the success of ChatGPT.

Google opened up Bard to “trusted testers” starting Feb. 6, according to CEO Sundar Pichai. The company is planning to make the tool available to the public in the coming weeks.

“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,” Pichai wrote in a blog post.

Satya Nadella, the Microsoft CEO, described the company’s revamped Bing search engine as “a new paradigm for search,” and added that “rapid innovation is going to come.”

“In fact, a race starts today … everyday we want to bring out new things, and most importantly, we want to have a lot of fun innovating in search because it’s high time.”

There is around 10 billion search queries a day, but half of them go unanswered, according to some estimates.

How the new Bing works

Microsoft, which invested billions of dollars in OpenAI, said the new Bing will be available for sample queries starting Feb. 7, with a small group of users having unlimited access. It said full access for both desktop and mobile will roll out to millions of users in the coming weeks.

Users utilizing the new Bing can create a 5-day trip itinerary for a family in a certain city, with links to book travel and accommodations or prep for a job interview. It can then generate an email with that itinerary for the user to send around to their family.

If necessary, the tool could even translate the email into other languages. Users could also search for TVs to buy in a new interactive chat. Once the results come up, the user can ask Bing via chat for additional information, such as which TVs cost less.

Microsoft Remakes Bing Using ChatGPT Tech, Takes on Google’s Dominance

Bing search results

The improved Bing reviews results from across the web to find and summarize answers that users are looking for. It can get detailed instructions for how to substitute eggs for another ingredient in a cake you are baking right in that moment, said Microsoft.

“With answers, we go far beyond what Search can do today,” said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s vice president and consumer chief marketing officer.

The new Microsoft Edge browser will have the Bing AI capabilities built in with two additional functionalities, chat and compose. It allows users to chat with the search tool on the side of a web page, to ask questions about the page or compare it with content from elsewhere.

“You can also ask Edge to help you compose content, such as a LinkedIn post, by giving it a few prompts to get you started,” added Mehdi.

Microsoft challenges Google’s dominance

Google has for long dominated the online search business but there’s some belief that emerging AI tools such as ChatGPT, and now Microsoft’s AI-powered Bing, could pose a threat to that dominance.

Analysts say “it is hard to say whether it [Bing] will dramatically reshuffle the competitive landscape in search” given that Bing is a distant second to Google. It controls just about 3% of the global search market, compared to Google’s more than 90%.

Regardless, Google isn’t waiting for Microsoft to catch up with it. The company has already announced its own AI chatbot Bard, to rival both ChatGPT and Microsoft’s Bing.

Microsoft chief financial officer Amy Wood, told an investor call on Tuesday that “every percentage point of share it gains in search equals roughly $2 billion in additional advertising revenue,” reported The Information.

In the December 2022 quarter, Microsoft’s revenue from search and news advertising was $3.2 billion. That’s just 6% of its total revenue of $52.7 billion for the period, said the tech publication.

For the same quarter, Google’s parent company Alphabet received 56% of its profit margins from search business.

Microsoft dealing with AI biases

In partnership with OpenAI, Microsoft said it has been “implementing safeguards to defend against harmful content.” AI tools like ChatGPT have raised some concerns, “including about their potential to perpetuate biases and spread misinformation.”

“We know we wont be able to answer every question every single time,” Mehdi said. “We also know we’ll make our share of mistakes, so we’ve added a quick feedback button at the top of every search, so you can give us feedback and we can learn.”

Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney, Unsplash.


Will Decentralized Digital ID Curb AI Threats in Web3 and Metaverse?



Will Decentralized Digital ID Curb AI Threats in Web3 and Metaverse?

As the scale of web3 and the metaverse continues to grow, apps and services may have to contend with an influx of duplicate accounts seeking to steal user identities to defraud and deceive. Experts believe that many of the malicious actors will be AI-based.

But that may be already starting to change. In the last few months, web3 outfit Identity Labs launched NFID,  a decentralized identity and login tool that does not require a password, allowing users to verify their identity by linking their phone number to their account.

The identity platform uses zero-knowledge (zk) cryptography, a technology that can prove the validity of data without revealing any other personally identifying information. NFID is built on Dfinity’s Internet Computer blockchain.

Digital identity for web3 and metaverse

According to Identity Labs founder Dan Ostrovsky, enabling what he calls unique “proof-of-humanity” may be key to eradicating AI adversaries and opportunists to guard against the risk of fraud in web3 and the metaverse.

“By leveraging zero-knowledge cryptography, biometrics, and other verification methods to confirm a user’s identity, NFID ensures that a person is who they say they are while safeguarding user privacy,” Ostrovsky told MetaNews.

He described “proof of humanity” as a concept that proves that humans are who they say they are when interacting with applications in the digital realm. The idea is to prevent people, or non-humans as it were, from abusing internet systems through multiple accounts.

Digital identity is the cornerstone of web3 and the metaverse, according to Ostrovsky, as it enables trust and security in decentralized systems. In web3, digital identities will be used to govern interactions between users and the metaverse, as well as financial transactions.

Digital identities can take two forms. The first is a digital version of an official physical ID document, like a passport, stored on a mobile crypto wallet. The other is a credential for accessing online services such as DeFi apps, NFT marketplaces, and other web3 services.

In both cases, digital identities are used to verify the identity of the user and ensure they have the necessary permissions to access certain services or perform certain actions. But the rise of AI poses a significant threat to web3 and metaverse activities.

AI security risks

As AI becomes more advanced, it will become increasingly difficult to distinguish between real and fake identities, according to experts. AI has the potential to undermine the security and privacy of digital identities. As one example, it can be used to create deepfakes, realistic but fake images or videos used to impersonate someone else, including their voice.

Deepfakes can be deployed to create false digital identities, something cybercriminals could leverage to commit fraud or other malicious activities. AI can also be utilized to analyze large amounts of data to identify patterns and vulnerabilities in digital ID systems, which can be exploited by hackers.

To combat this threat, Ostrovsky suggests developing new technologies that can detect and prevent the use of fake identities. This could include the use of biometric data, such as facial recognition or fingerprint scanning, to verify the identity of users.

“The ubiquity of digital avatars in the coming metaverse will likely result in an uptick in fraud and phishing attacks,” he told MetaNews.

This may be already a common practice on social platforms like Twitter, he said, adding:

“The ability to easily imitate these avatars could catch many off guard, tricking them into thinking they’re interacting with a friend when they’re actually conversing with a fraudster harvesting details to pull off social engineering scams.”

Ostrovsky emphasized the importance of privacy in digital identity.

“Users need to have control over their own data and be able to decide who has access to it,” he said.

It means that digital ID systems need to be designed with privacy in mind, and users should have the ability to revoke access to their data at any time.

Privacy threat

Put simply, web3 is a decentralized internet powered by blockchain and token-based economics. Non-fungible crypto tokens are expected to play a key role in web3 as a medium of exchange.

Experts are concerned about the risk of fraud and a lack of safeguards on the biometric data collected for creating digital identities in web3. Big tech has in the past failed to secure personal information, and there are concerns about private firms collecting biometric data in a crypto industry that largely operates beyond regulatory oversight.

It is inevitable that comparisons have been drawn with Worldcoin’s ill-fated plan to scan the irises of one billion people in exchange for free money. The project was roundly criticized as a disaster waiting to happen for harvesting people’s biometrics in an unethical way.

Also read: Goldman Sachs Report Warns AI Could Impact 300 Million Jobs

Identity Labs’ Dan Ostrovsky believes that digital identities, as epitomized by his company’s NFID system, will play a crucial role in the development of web3 and largely address such concerns.

As the internet becomes more decentralized and open, these IDs will be used to ensure trust and security in decentralized systems.

Last year, layer two protocol Polygon also launched its Polygon ID, a decentralized and private identity service for web3 and DeFi. Polygon hopes the ID will be a useful tool in determining credit scores in web3 and decentralized finance lending.

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Human Immortality Just 8 Years Away, Claims ex-Google Engineer



Human Immortality Just 8 Years Away, Claims ex-Google Engineer

Here at MetaNews, we’ve aggressively covered the AI beat since the turn of the year, less so the fields of nanotechnology, genetics and robotics. But a former Google engineer claims advancements in these areas will help humans achieve immortality in just eight years.

Futurist Ray Kurzweil’s audacious claims were cited during a YouTube video on the Adagio channel. The computer scientist and inventor is known for coining the term ‘the Singularity,’ which describes the juncture at which artificial intelligence surpasses human thinking.

“Once the Singularity has been reached, Kurzweil says that machine intelligence will be infinitely more powerful than all human intelligence combined,” explains the video’s narrator.

“Afterwards, he predicts intelligence will radiate outward from the planet until it saturates the universe.”

Age-reversing nanobots

The celebrated technologist, who won the National Medal of Technology in 1999 and three years later made his way into the National Inventors Hall of Fame, says immortality will be achieved thanks to advancements in nanotechnology, a field he calls “the second revolution.”

These advancements, Kurzweil argues, will enable so-called age-reversing nanobots to get to work on repairing damaged cells and tissues which deteriorate as a result of the ageing process. By 2031, we’ll have the technology to facilitate everlasting life.

“Kurzweil envisions nanobots that allow people to eat whatever they want while remaining thin and fit, provide copious energy, fight off infections or cancer, replace organs and augment their brains,” notes the narrator.

The inventor has been banging the nanobot drum for many years: two decades ago, in a much-cited blog post, he claimed “interlinking nanobots” would eventually “provide the ability to augment and ultimately replace the skeleton.” 

In the same article, Kurzweil suggested it would one day be “routine to have billions of nanobots (nano-scale robots) coursing through the capillaries of our brains, communicating with each other (over a wireless local area network), as well as with our biological neurons and with the Internet.”

While it’s natural to reflexively scoff at such claims, Google’s former director of engineering has form for making accurate predictions: 86% of his 147 predictions of the future have proven correct. 

Among other notable prophecies, he forecasted in 1990 that the world’s best chess player would lose to a computer by the year 2000. This one came true in 1997 when world champion Garry Kasparov fell to IBM supercomputer Deep Blue.

Flash-forward 32 years, to 2029, and an AI will be able to pass a Turing test – at least according to Kurzweil. Also known as the imitation game, the Turing test is a test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligence behavior indistinguishable from that of a human being.

Soothsayer extraordinaire or charismatic crank?

Kurzweil is the bright mind behind the first ever flatbed scanner, not to mention the first text-to-speech synthesizer and was once called “Edison’s rightful heir” by Inc. magazine. He’s also undeniably wacky, reportedly consuming 150 dietary supplement pills a day and taking weekly intravenous vitamin injections to boost his longevity.

While the small matter of human immortality will apparently be resolved by the end of this decade, Kurzweil “sets the date for the Singularity, representing a profound and disruptive transformation in human capability, as 2045.”

Kurzweil’s work at Google mostly centered on projects related to machine learning and language processing, two of the technologies behind the company’s AI-powered chatbot Bard. In a 2012 address at Google, Kurzweil tackled the subject ‘How to Create a Mind.’

Earlier this month, Kurzweil appeared wearing a fetching beret at the Abundance360 summit in LA, alongside the likes of Tony Robbins, Stability.AI Founder Emad Mostaque, and Co-Director of Harvard’s Center for Biology of Aging Research, David Sinclair.

The ideas espoused by the 75-year-old have been criticized by many, including maths prodigy turned anarchist terrorist Ted Kaczynski, who took aim at the inventor in his 2016 article ‘The techies’ wet dreams’.

“His whole book [2004’s Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever] reveals a man intoxicated with a vision of the future in which, as an immortal machine, he will participate in the conquest of the universe. In fact, Kurzweil and other techies are living in a fantasy world,” Kaczynski wrote.

Interestingly, the computer scientist’s prediction of coming immortality coincides with claims by Dr David McCarthy, who led a recent University of Georgia lifespan study, that men born in 1970 could potentially reach the age of 141, while women born in the same year could reach 131.

What’s your view on Kurzweil’s claims? Is human immortality within reach, many generations away, or an impossibility?

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Goldman Sachs Report Warns AI Could Impact 300 Million Jobs



Goldman Sachs Report Warns AI Could Impact 300 Million Jobs

Recent advancements in AI have made a big impression on the world,  with many marvelling at the extraordinary capabilities of machines to perform complex tasks with accuracy and speed.

As AI continues to evolve, however, it poses a potential threat to many jobs in various industries, raising concerns about its impact on the global workforce. A new report by Goldman Sachs predicts that generative AI may affect up to 300 million jobs.

“If generative AI delivers on its promised capabilities, the labor market could face significant disruption,” stated the report.

There is a lot of uncertainty about generative AI’s potential, but it can produce human-like content and help machines communicate with people, which some argue could have a significant negative impact on the economy.

“Using data on occupational tasks in both the US and Europe, we find that roughly two-thirds of current jobs are exposed to some degree of AI automation, and that generative AI could substitute up to one-fourth of current work,” says the report.

Goldman Sachs’ estimates “suggest that generative AI could expose the equivalent of 300m full-time jobs to automation.”

Read Also: Google Launches ‘Bard’ in UK and US for Public Testing

While AI is expected to have a considerable impact on the labor market, most jobs and industries will only be partially affected by automation and are therefore more likely to be complemented rather than replaced by AI.

White collar jobs are vulnerable

The bank’s analysts estimate that around 7% of US jobs could be substituted by AI; 63% could be complemented by it while the remaining 30% would remain unaffected.

“The boost to global labor productivity could also be economically significant, and we estimate that AI could eventually increase annual global GDP by 7%,” the report states.

Big tech companies like Microsoft, Alibaba, Baidu, and Google are investing heavily in AI. Perhaps unsurprisingly, white collar jobs are expected to be affected the most by the technology.

Goldman predicts that 25% of all tasks performed in the US and Europe could be automated by AI, based on a study that found 60% of the workforce operates in jobs that didn’t exist in 1940.

Office and administrative support positions (46%), legal posts (44%), and architecture and engineering jobs (37%) are the most vulnerable in the US to so-called AI “task replacement.”

UK seeks responsible use of AI

Meanwhile in the UK, the Sunak government has set out plans to regulate artificial intelligence with new guidelines on “responsible use,” reports the BBC.

The government says AI contributed £3.7bn ($5.6bn) to the UK economy in 2022, calling it a “technology of tomorrow.” However, concerns have been raised about the potential risks AI could pose to employment and security, as well as the possibility  it could be used for malicious purposes.

There is also concern that AI may display biases against certain groups if trained on datasets that include racist or sexist material, while the technology could be used to create and spread misinformation.

Read Also: AI Poses a Threat to Democracy, Experts Warn

Proposed new rules would apply to general-purpose AI, which includes systems such as chatbots capable of understanding and responding to human-like questions.

Issued by the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, the latest whitepaper seeks to address concerns over privacy, human rights, and safety issues associated with AI.

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