OpenAI’s ChatGPT caused quite a stir when it launched in late 2022. Nominally a chatbot that could answer your questions and hold conversations using natural language, it didn’t take long for people to realize it could also answer many of the questions you’d normally turn to a search engine for. It’s information is at least a year out of date, and sometimes it has a tough time telling truth from fiction, but it’s still a pretty impressive tech demo.
ChatGPT also reportedly caused Google to seriously accelerate plans to bring more AI features to its search engine. Google’s been building a large language model called LaMDA for years, but this week the company unveiled a user-facing technology called Bard that leverages LaMDA to bring a conversational user interface to Google Search. And a day later Microsoft announced that it’s partnering with OpenAI to bring a next-gen version of the tech that powers ChatGPT to its Bing search engine and Edge web browsers.
It’s still early days for these new AI-based, conversational search engines. Microsoft is previewing the technology by showing GPT-based responses to specific queries for everyone. And a select group of testers can try out the new Bing and Edge experiences, but everyone else will need to join a waitlist.
Google, meanwhile, says it’s making Bard available to “trusted testers ahead of making it more widely available to the public in the coming weeks.”
Eventually these technologies could change the way we interact with the web. Instead of typing a question into a search engine and getting links to a list of websites that might answer that question, these AI models could mine those websites to find the most likely answers and present it to you directly – no click required. And honestly, that sounds really useful… assuming you can trust the information that these sites spit out.
But it’s also a dangerous game for companies like Google and Microsoft to play. By driving fewer visitors to websites that make money from advertising, affiliate sales commissions, donations, or subscriptions, these new technologies could potentially remove the incentive for many of those websites to publish new recipes, how-to articles, news reports, or other types of content. And without those web pages to mine for data, Bard and GPT could become a lot less useful in the future.
In other words, Microsoft and Google could be starting down a path that puts websites like Liliputing out of business… and which could then eventually put Google out of business as well, since Google makes most of its money through search advertising.
I’m not saying this is what’s going to happen. Like I said, it’s still early days. But it sure looks like the AI-ification of search could bring the biggest thing to happen to the web in decades.
In other recent tech news from around the web, Amazon’s Luna game streaming services has lost a bunch of games and is losing more this month and Purism has introduced a breakout board for the Librem 5 that lets you more easily add sensors and other hardware to the Linux smartphone.
A day after Google introduced Bard, Microsoft is explaining how it will incorporate GPT-4 into Bing and Edge to enable complex answers to questions and a conversational experience. Unlike ChatGPT, which is based on GPT-3.5, this new version isn’t limited to old data, which means that it can provide relevant, up-to-date information.
Google describes Bard as an “experimental conversational I services” that’s powered by the company’s LaMDA technology. It will let users ask questions and hold conversations using natural language. Initially it will be available for testing with a lightweight version of LaMDA that’s less resource-intensive than the full version, suggesting that what we see during the testing phase won’t represent the full capabilities.
Bard is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by LaMDA. Built using our large language models and drawing on information from the web, it’s a launchpad for curiosity and can help simplify complex topics → https://t.co/fSp531xKy3 pic.twitter.com/JecHXVmt8l
— Google (@Google) February 6, 2023
This $49 breakout board provides I2C, serial, and other connectors that you can use to add things like temperature, gas, or humidity sensors to a Librem 5 Linux phone. Pine64 also offers a breakout board for the PinePhone, but that $1 board isn’t quite as versatile (it’s a lot cheaper though).
Amazon Luna will lose over 50 more games in February as the library continues to shrink [9to5Google]
Amazon’s Luna+ cloud gaming subscription is set to lose 50 games this month, including No More Heroes, Another World, and… Pong. After the cull, there will be 175 games availabel to Luna+ subscribers.
Phosh 0.24.0 and Sxmo 1.13.0 are out, and so is Sailfish OS 4.5.0. And the MNT Pocket Reform open hardware mini-laptop goes up for crowdfunding this month, and plenty of news from last weekend’s FOSDEM gathering.
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