This was a busy week. Tonight was the Super Bowl (it was a hell of a game), but there have also multiple reports of military aircraft shooting down UFOs (which may or may not just be unidentified ... balloons, hopefully not alien spacecraft). I can confirm no aliens made an appearance at the big game, unless you count Elon Musk being spotted with Rupert Murdoch.
The big news of the week, of course, was that Microsoft and Google both announced their first forays into artificial intelligence powered search.
Gold’s Guide to AI — 12 February 2023
Before we get into it: ChatGPT Plus rolled out this week, with a new Turbo model option. My first impressions: it’s just what it says on the tin. Reliable. The Turbo model is fast.
Microsoft vs. Google: game on
Turns out the images I skeptically shared of the new Bing in last week’s newsletter were... pretty accurate. I’m happy to stand corrected.
On Tuesday, Microsoft announced new version of Bing and their Edge web browser. Google also jumped into the fray — but made a mistake on their first play. Microsoft is looking good in the first quarter.
I never thought I would write these words, let alone an entire article about it:
It’s 2023, and I’m on the waitlist for Bing
The new Bing looks... cool. Even more astonishing: Microsoft’s Edge web browser (the successor to the equally-beloved-and-reviled Internet Explorer) has AI summary and content composition tools baked right into the toolbars. You can try out a limited number of example Bing chat queries today while the full features roll out. Edge beta is coming soon.
Microsoft is dropping some heat, and Google seems to be scrambling.
Google announced their Bard chatbot during a rushed keynote event in Paris, which meant it was held suspiciously early in the morning for Americans. Were they trying to hide something?
First things first, the name: “Bard” is not good. It might have more personality than ChatGPT, but it feels stilted and weird. I figure it’s a Shakespeare reference, but it could be a nod to Geoffrey Chaucer. A little nerdy for a mass market product.
Damningly, Bard made a factual error in Google’s first demo of their new chatbot features.
It might sound innocuous, but it’s not. Google results have been rife with misleading or just plain incorrect information for years now, but this is a new product announcement; Apple (especially Steve Jobs era) would probably have fired an entire division for a mistake like this. This is public marketing materials containing a factual error: a big L for the humans at Google. Alphabet stock nose-dived as a result.
On the other side of the field, Microsoft’s partnership (investment?) with OpenAI really seems to be paying off. This free interview on Stratechery featuring OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott (audio-only) makes me think that the two companies have a very strong relationship.
The underdog has the momentum right now. It’s only a matter of time until Microsoft rolls generative AI tech out to Microsoft Office. I converted to Google Docs years ago, but for the first time in years, earlier this week I downloaded Office 365. Microsoft has really done the impossible. Side note: did you know Microsoft Word has dark mode?
1. If you were chatting with someone online and didn’t know if they were a person or not, would you want to know? I vote 100% absolutely yes. AI should disclose that they are AI. Ignorance is not bliss, it’s ignorance.
2. Are we about to see tons of deepfake ads? Joe Rogan and other prolific podcasters are probably the most at risk since there’s so much footage to work with. This entire testimonial seems to be generated by AI tech.
3. The US Pentagon used ChatGPT to write a press release. I am of two minds:
4. Harrison Ford called the AI recreation of his younger self featured in the next Indiana Jones his “actual face”. Did you catch the commercial during the Super Bowl tonight?
I don’t know how they do it. But that’s my actual face [...] Then I put little dots on my face and I say the words and they make [it]. It’s fantastic.
This new search battle between Microsoft and Google is probably the best thing that could happen to the tech industry: for the first time ever, there‘s actually real competition in search, a trillion-dollar industry that is the first destination when people want to be productive.
Google is being forced to innovate on their business model for the first time. It’s just funny that the “up-and-comer” disrupting them is Microsoft.
The first game isn’t quite over yet — Microsoft has yet to fully roll out Bing or Edge, and Google is still “weeks” away from releasing Bard, but I’m finding myself testing more and more Microsoft products every day.
The first quarter of the AI search game has gone to Microsoft. Google remains scoreless so far.
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See you next Sunday,