Since the Microsoft backed OpenAI launched its ChatGPT , tech giants like Google have been under pressure to come up with a rival product. But that’s not all, OpenAI is reported to have “poached” over 12 Google staffers to work on its chatbot.
This could have been a major setback for Google’s Bard, which, on its preview demonstration, showed some blaring public mistake that proved costly even to stock performance.
The Information reported OpenAI, the startup behind ChatGPT and image generator DALL-E lured some Google researchers to join its team.
A source close to the matter who spoke to the publication indicated that at least five former Google researchers were key in getting ChatGPT up and running.
According to the report, the researchers – Barret Zoph, Liam Fedus, Luke Metz, Jacob Menick and Rapha Gontinjo were all mentioned in the acknowledgements section of OpenAI’s blog post announcing ChatGPT’s launch.
By the time of writing, Metz and Zoph had updated their LinkedIn profiles to reflect the supposedly job changes.
ChatGPT rose to fame gaining more than one million users in its first week. Its popularity pushed Google’s management to declare a “code red” the following month.
According to The Information, two former staffers at Google Brain, Alphabet’s AI division told the publication that some employees were no longer inspired.
The work environment had become too slow for them with too much caution over new product initiatives and red tape. This prompted them to look for employment elsewhere.
Could the staff exodus be the source of Bard’s mistakes?
OpenAI’s chatGPT proved widely popular as soon as it hit the market leaving other tech giants green with envy and scrambling to incorporate the technology into their products and services.
On February the 6th, Google showcased its bot known as Bard. It was off to a wrong start as it made errors during a preview demonstration. This resulted in $100 billion wiped off shares.
In a promotion for the bot on twitter, the bot was asked about what to tell a nine-year-old about discoveries from the James Webb Space Telescope.
In response, the bot said the telescope was the first to take pictures of a planet outside the earth’s solar system. On the contrary, that milestone was claimed by the European Very Large Telescope in 2004 – a mistake quickly noted by astronomers on Twitter, according to BBC.
“Why didn’t you fact-check this example before sharing it” Chris Harrison, a fellow at Newcastle University replied to the tweet.
Astrophysicist, Grant Tremblay also noted the error and tweeted: “Not to be a –well, actually – jerk, and I’m sure Bard will be impressive, but for the record: JWST did not take the very first image of a planet outside our solar system. The first image was instead done by Chauvin et al. (2004) with the VLT/NACO using adaptive optics.”
BBC further reported investors were also underwhelmed by a presentation the company gave about its plans to deploy artificial intelligence in its products.
OpenAI beats google to the punch
The seven-year old startup has surprised many, investors and AI practitioners leaving them wondering how the company managed to “beat Google to the punch.”
Google runs two of the world’s foremost AI research groups yet a smaller company managed to develop a product that stole the hearts of millions across the world, thanks partly to Google’s former engineers.
After ChatGPT’s launch and rise in popularity, Google now appears to be in a fierce competition with Microsoft, a huge investor in OpenAI to bring new products to the market.
Bard is available to beta testers but Google expects to roll it out to the broader market in coming weeks or months.
DigitalTrends’ Jon Martindale wrote that chief executive officer Sundar Pichai initially accelerated the development of Bard in early 2022 following signs of ChatGPT’s successful development.
“That is likely to have continued apace with the continued positive press coverage ChatGPT has received in 2023.
“If you aren’t part of the coveted group of Bard beta testers for now, you’ll just have to play the waiting game until we hear more from Google,” wrote Martindale.
ChatGPT on the other hand is now readily available except for countries it is restricted like China and parts of Africa.
While Bing ChatGPT seems to be ahead, experts say Google as a company has never taken any competition lightly. The company has in its possession a lot of data as it has been the leader for years in search engines.
According to Internet Live Stats 2022, Google processes over 99 000 searches every single second which translates to 8.5 billion searches a day, while ChatGPT on the other hand has had about 100 million visits so far.