Google’s Cautious Approach to Artificial Intelligence

Miles Kruppa and Sam Schechner, Wall Street Journal:

Now Google, the company that helped pioneer the modern era of artificial intelligence, finds its cautious approach to that very technology being tested by one of its oldest rivals. Last month Microsoft Corp. announced plans to infuse its Bing search engine with the technology behind the viral chatbot ChatGPT, which has wowed the world with its ability to converse in humanlike fashion. Developed by a seven-year-old startup co-founded by Elon Musk called OpenAI, ChatGPT piggybacked on early AI advances made at Google itself.


Google’s approach could prove to be prudent. Microsoft said in February it would put new limits on its chatbot after users reported inaccurate answers, and sometimes unhinged responses when pushing the app to its limits.

Many in the tech commentariat have predicted victory for Microsoft products so often it has become a running joke in some circles. It released one of the first folding phones which it eventually unloaded on Woot at a 70% discount; it was one of many instances where Microsoft’s entry was prematurely championed.

Even after all the embarrassing problems in Google’s Bard presentation and demos and the pressure the company is now facing, I imagine its management is feeling somewhat vindicated by Microsoft’s rapid dampening of the sassier side of its assistant. While Microsoft could use its sheer might to rapidly build a user base — as it did with Teams — Google could also flip a switch to do the same because it is the world’s most popular website.