The introduction of Open AI’s ChatGPT pushed artificial intelligence to the front pages of the internet. Launched in November 2022, the public response has been overwhelming. However, perhaps the most significant aspect is that Big Tech companies have stood up and taken notice.
ChatGPT gained 100 million users in just two months. That makes it the fastest-growing app of all time. It has the potential to change the way we interact with the internet. Conversational AI will be able to decipher what we are asking and deliver more detailed, meaningful responses. The internet is a deep reservoir of information; chatbots and other AI applications can make it more accessible and beneficial for everyone.
However, with AI tools maturing quickly, the race has begun to see who will be at the forefront of this revolution. Since ChatGPT emerged in November, several tech giants have made plays for the future.
How have tech giants responded to ChatGPT?
One of the fascinating parts of the ChatGPT story is how other Big Tech businesses have responded. Many companies are so afraid of being left behind that they’ve either announced or rushed out their own versions of conversational AI robots. So, who will win the battle for AI? Let’s take a look at what the big players are doing.
Microsoft invested around $10 billion into Open AI and has integrated ChatGPT with Bing. The AI assistant will be available for the Edge browser, but there is a long waiting list. For now, it will scale up to millions of users, and it looks like it’s the first time that Google will face real competition for search engine dominance.
The most notable element of ChatGPT for Bing is that it will be more accessible, faster, and use up-to-date information. ChatGPT is currently running on a data set from 2021, so this version will be a better source of real-time information.
Google is no stranger to AI investments. They have a long track record of acquiring promising AI and ML companies like DeepMind.
When Microsoft announced their Open AI partnership this year, Google quickly rushed out its own version, called Bard. This new AI chat service has been called a lightweight version of LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) . LaMDA itself was built on Google’s 2017 open-source tool, Transformer.
The release of Bard had some issues. A video demo showed the machine making a factual error about the James Webb telescope. Alphabet’s share price dropped as a result.
In recent weeks, Google announced a $300 million investment in Anthropic. This AI business was founded by ex-Open AI staff and shows just how determined Google is not to fall behind its rivals in the Conversational AI war.
Apple’s role in the AI tech war has been shrouded in mystery. However, they have announced an employee-only AI Summit. So, we do know that Apple is taking AI seriously.
Apple has had many cool AI tools and applications over the years. Siri, Face ID, voice recognition, and more were all powered by AI and ML.
In a recent quarterly earnings call at the start of February, Apple CEO Time Cook referenced other applications, such as Crash Detection and ECG recordings on Apple Watches, alongside digital book narration on Apple Books as examples of the company’s innovative use of the technology.
However, it’s fair to say that Bing/ChatGPT doesn’t threaten Apple’s business model in the way it does Google’s. So, while we can expect it to make incremental gains, it will likely sit this war out.
Which might not be a bad thing for everyone else. Apple ATT was, in some ways, a move that deliberately hobbled Facebook. However, if rumors that Apple is creating a search engine prove accurate, it’s likely to be accompanied by conversational AI if it wants to compete with the big players.
Meta founder Mark Zuckerberg has stated that generative AI will be a big theme for his business in 2023. After burning around $20 billion on a metaverse project that has posted abysmal uptake, he may need to try a new direction.
Meta released an AI-based video generator last year. While Zuckerberg has been tight-lipped about what his business will do in the AI space this year, they have been investing heavily in data centers, suggesting they need computational power for something big.
Some speculate that these investments will be put towards helping the business recover advertising accuracy that they lost since Apple’s ATT. Others suggest it will go towards producing better content for Facebook and Instagram. Watch this space.
While Amazon staff may have gone public with concerns the business is falling behind its rivals, CEO Andy Jassy says they have been working on a project like ChatGPT for some time.
Amazon already has Alexa and CodeWhisperer in its AI stable. However, its language models have been posting impressive results. Amazon’s multimodal chain-of-thought (CoT) has outperformed ChatGPT3.5 in tests. We can probably expect to see something from Amazon in the AI space during 2023.
Chinese tech giants
Speaking of Amazon, the Chinese version of the eCommerce giant Alibaba is working on its own version of ChatGPT. Similarly, Tencent (makers of TikTok) and Baidu, a search engine, are two other Chinese tech giants that have entered the AI space. Baidu’s Ernie-Bot caused the firm’s share price to jump.
However, overly-zealous internet regulation in China might hinder these companies’ efforts. Additionally, recent warnings by Chinese state media warding off speculation in Chinese AI companies also hurt stock prices. For now, it remains a difficult market to predict.
AI has almost endless potential applications. While ChatGPT has brought these various technologies back into mainstream news cycles, it never went away.
Personalized shopping and digital experiences, fraud and compliance detection, financial modeling, driverless cars, robotics, and more, are all areas that heavily rely on AI and ML.
Big Tech companies are going even bigger on AI investments. The war is real, and it will be won not solely by those with the biggest pockets but by those who can translate technology into solutions that people want and need.
It’s impossible to say who will win the war without seeing how these investments work out. Overall, it’s definitely a fascinating time for AI.
There are some speculative areas where AI has yet to prove itself, such as driverless cars. However, there are others where it just keeps on generating great results, like digital advertising.
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