Let the AI wars begin! Microsoft is turning Bing into an AI powered heavyweight

Microsoft has announced that Bing will now be AI powered as well as their Edge browser. Google has announced a ChatGPT rival set to come out in mere weeks. Are the AI wars upon us?

On Tuesday, February 7th, Microsoft announced that they were modernizing their Bing search engine to run on artificial intelligence.  Their web browser Edge is also set to start running on AI. They are partnering with OpenAI and have spent billions on this investment. (It should be noted that Microsoft is also cutting 10,000 jobs.) As a long time rival of Google, this is their latest effort to overtake the tech giant. Not to be left in the dust, Google has also announced that they have a ChatGPT tool in the works. 

It is clear we have come to a turning point in terms of Artificial Intelligence. We were on a journey toward it with other automation tools such as voice assistants. But this takes it to another level.  Examples of what the new Bing search engine would be used for are shopping recommendations and purchases, instant itinerary creation, and job interview prep. 

The new Bing experience is a culmination of four technical breakthroughs:

  • Next-generation OpenAI model. We’re excited to announce the new Bing is running on a new, next-generation OpenAI large language model that is more powerful than ChatGPT and customized specifically for search. It takes key learnings and advancements from ChatGPT and GPT-3.5 – and it is even faster, more accurate and more capable.
  • Microsoft Prometheus model. We have developed a proprietary way of working with the OpenAI model that allows us to best leverage its power. We call this collection of capabilities and techniques the Prometheus model. This combination gives you more relevant, timely and targeted results, with improved safety.
  • Applying AI to core search algorithm. We’ve also applied the AI model to our core Bing search ranking engine, which led to the largest jump in relevance in two decades. With this AI model, even basic search queries are more accurate and more relevant.
  • New user experience. We’re reimagining how you interact with search, browser and chat by pulling them into a unified experience. This will unlock a completely new way to interact with the web.

Yusuf Mehdi Corporate Vice President & Consumer Chief Marketing Officer at Microsoft

A commitment to stopping hate and biased AI? Sign me up

Microsoft acknowledged that biased and harmful information is a problem in AI and that they are taking steps to improve and eventually (hopefully) fix it.  They called it innovating together, responsibly. Which a lot of people (including myself remember!) have advocated for. 

Together with OpenAI, we’ve also been intentional in implementing safeguards to defend against harmful content. Our teams are working to address issues such as misinformation and disinformation, content blocking, data safety and preventing the promotion of harmful or discriminatory content in line with our AI principles.

The work we are doing with OpenAI builds on our company’s yearslong effort to ensure that our AI systems are responsible by design. We will continue to apply the full strength of our responsible AI ecosystem – including researchers, engineers and policy experts – to develop new approaches to mitigate risk.

When can we test it out?

Right now Bing has a limited preview that people can test out on bings homepage. They also have a waitlist that one can sign up for to be one of the first users. They are doing this to test out any limitations and are accepting all feedback. This sounds like a great way to get involved as the more minds we have working on this the better we can make it. I signed up for the waitlist and will report at a later date my thoughts. 

A screenshot of the bing search page, it says ask me anything in a box and below has an example that says, I need to throw a dinner party for 6 people who are vegetarian. Can you suggest a 3-course menu with a chocolate dessert?

Next Steps

The AI wars are upon us, but we shouldn’t let that distract us from jumping in as well. We have a responsibility to keep these companies ethical and for the ones that have already strayed, a duty to humanity to rein them in. Whether you think we have that power, is up to you. But let’s not say we didn’t try.