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AI December 27, 2022

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

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The chatbot war is here

On Friday a new search engine was launched incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) technology.

YouChat, dubbed “the AI search engine you control,” combines a conventional search engine and a large language model (LLM) AI into a single user interface. YouChat arrives just weeks after the launch of its rival AI ChatGPT, signaling an arms race of competing artificial intelligences that could ultimately upend the Google empire.

Launching YouChat

YouChat is the latest LLM to hit the market as artificial intelligence systems are proving hugely popular with the public. ChatGPT has already shown to be adept at a wide array of written tasks including generating code, writing poetry and building a marketing strategy while DALL-E and MidJourney have demonstrated themselves highly capable at creating imagery.

Taking to Twitter on Friday, CEO Richard Socher described the system as having, “similar capabilities as #chatGPT but advances the AI field of large language models by incorporating the you search and app platform.”

That is to say that YouChat is slightly different to pre-existing AIs. The homepage presents itself almost exactly like Google, but with the addition of three tabs immediately visible at the top of the screen: “YouCode,” “YouWrite,” and “YouImagine.” There are also study, social, map and shop tabs available as you begin to delver deeper.

While YouCode and YouWrite cover the same territory as ChatGPT, offering coding and writing help respectively, YouImagine creates AI-generated art in the vein of MidJourney.

According to Socher, YouChat can also search for academic research and provide citations where necessary. In theory, YouChat is ChatGPT, MidJourney and Google combined.

Rushing into chatbot battle

If the launch of YouChat so swiftly on the heels of ChatGPT suggests a rush to launch, some early bugs with the platform may provide supporting evidence. On Christmas Eve the site was quickly overwhelmed by traffic and went down. When YouChat was online, some of its answers seemed suspect to prompters.

It appears that much like ChatGPT, users would be foolhardy to believe everything that YouChat says.

Even Socher admits, “While youChat will be more often up-to-date and truthful than other large language models, it still makes mistakes,” before adding that, “we’re releasing this in beta. We hope that having citations, apps and web links alongside chat will enable users to verify facts easily.”

One of the headline features of YouChat is its ability to provide citations to papers. A number of users report that many of these papers are bogus. 

As one Twitter user said, “It is a great tool but still have the same problem as #ChatGPT. It hallucinates references.”

Another said, “It very confidently gives non-existent references to believable sounding papers. This can potentially make debunking misinformation harder for casual users as the references seem legit.”

Despite these initial problems Socher claims that YouChat can, “completely change how people think about search engines in 2023.”

 

The you chatbot

The YOU.com landing page may look familiar

Has Google’s biggest threat arrived?

The emergence of competing AIs creates the most existential threat to Google’s hegemony in the past 20 years and Google is more than aware of the threat. As The New York Times reported last week, ChatGPT caused Google management to declare “code red,” and to pull the metaphorical fire alarm. 

On its own ChatGPT threatened to reinvent the way users think and search for information. The launch of YouChat so swiftly on the heels of ChatGPT will not have made Google’s c-level executives feel any less panicked.

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Image credits: Shutterstock, CC images, Midjourney.

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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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Gmail Creator Says AI Will Replace Search Engines Like Google in 2 Years

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Gmail Creator Says AI Will Replace Search Engines Like Google in 2 Years

Paul Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said artificial intelligence (AI) will replace search engines such as Google in two years.

“My prediction is that AI (not necessarily ChatGPT) will replace search, maybe within the next two years (current AI not yet good enough),” Buchheit tweeted on Feb. 1.

Google facing ‘total disruption’

The software engineer said this as a form of clarification on an earlier statement he made regarding ChatGPT, the widely popular OpenAI bot. He believes that his comments were taken out of context and “sensationalized” by the media.

Also read: AI Could Kill Everyone, Researchers Warn MPs

However, the argument remains fundamentally the same in that Paul Buchheit’s prediction will still impact his former employer. Google is already reacting to the threat with plans to release 20 new AI related products to improve search this year, according to reports.

In his original comments from early December, Buchheit stated: “Google may be only a year or two away from total disruption. AI will eliminate the search engine result page, which is where they make most of their money,” he wrote on Twitter.

“Even if they catch up on AI, they can’t fully deploy it without destroying the most valuable part of their business.”

Google gets much of its revenue from search through online advertisements. The tech giant, which dominates the search business, charges advertisers a fee for ad placements that sit next to the search results. This improves the chances of ads being seen by consumers.

In 2021, Google reported revenues rose 41% to $258 billion from a year ago, its biggest to date. Ads made up 81% of total revenues that year. However, Google is grappling with a slowdown in online ad spending amid mounting antitrust lawsuits.

According to market research firm Insider Intelligence, the company’s share of total online advertising income in the U.S. fell from 37% in 2016 to 29% in 2022. Alphabet-owned Google controls up to 90% of the search business’ total market share.

Killing Web search ChatGPT way

Culture is now a sanctuary in this posthuman future. But the upcoming dominance of AI in search has even the most cultured corporate organizations in panic, and none more so than Google. OpenAI’s buzzy chatbot ChatGPT has been all the rage since its launch in November.

It can write complex essays, poetry, code and even pass MBA exams at the Wharton School of Business. OpenAI has also received a reported $10 billion cash boost from Microsoft, which is looking to add the chatbot’s abilities into its own search engine.

ChatGPT is shaking things up. It has spawned an AI arms race of sorts in Sillicon Valley. As Paul Buchheit said, tech like AI can remove the need for search engine result pages. He elaborates on how search businesses like Google could become useless, in exactly the same way that the company “killed” pre-internet business The Yellow Pages.

“The way I imagine this happening is that the URL/Search bar of the browser gets replaced with AI that autocompletes my thought/question as I type it while also providing the best answer (which may be a link to a website or product),” he explained.

“The old search engine backend will be used by the AI to gather relevant information and links, which will then be summarized for the user. It’s like asking a professional human researcher to do the work, except the AI will instantly do what would take many minutes for a human.”

Google joins AI race

The new artificial intelligence technology has been a wake up call for Google. CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly declared a “code red”, steamrolling over the company’s existing plans to kickstart AI development, The New York Times reports.

Google is now targeting to release around 20 new products and “demonstrate a version of its search engine with chatbot features this year,” it said, quoting sources with knowledge of the plans.

One of these projects is “Apprentice Bard,” as per a CNBC report. Apprentice Bard is a chatbot that is able to provide responses to questions asked using natural language. It uses Google’s conversation technology called Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA). The model is similar to the GPT language model utilized by ChatGPT .

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