This week, Microsoft made an announcement that they’ve extended their partnership with OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT and GPT-3. As I’ve indicated in a previous post, I’m less interested in ChatGPT, and more interested in the technology and advances behind these tools.
As part of this third extension of the partnership with OpenAI, Microsoft is starting to fold in artificial intelligence (AI), or machine learning virtual assistants into Bing and Microsoft Edge. You can see the announcement below.
Some things to keep in mind
It’s important to remember that this is a highly fluid and changing landscape. Google is slated to release their response to these AI virtual assistants and tools later this week. These tools and the companies behind them will also change as technology advances, and developers are acquired and/or hired.
Also remember that many people will use the term ChatGPT as a blanket, buzzworthy term to talk about all of these tools and platforms. That would be akin to using the term Xerox to describing all machines that make photocopies, or Zoom to describe all video conferencing technologies. In my titles and posts, I’ll use the term ChatGPT, but I’ll describe these as AI, or machine learning virtual assistants.
Why this is important
With the latest announcement, Microsoft indicated that they’ll start embedding OpenAI’s machine learning model in their Edge Browser and in Bing search on a deep level. This means that this virtual assistant will be one step away in your browser and in your search results. You can get an overview of how this might look and get on the waitlist in the video below.
This means that most of those discussions people have had about “blocking ChatGPT” from our offices, classrooms, and lives is for naught. It’s here. Also, with Microsoft’s large footprint in business and education we’ll see these tools pop up as soon as Edge and Bing update, and fewer users are waitlisted.
This also means that Microsoft’s vision of the future is a world less focused on search, and more focused on answers. The web has become largely unintelligible, and most humans are really not good at searching and critically evaluating online content. To help deal with this firehose of information, Microsoft wants to give you a co-pilot for the web that is baked into the browser and your search engine results. Microsoft has had this philosophy for some time.
Another thing to pay attention to is the possible use of GPT-4 as OpenAI continues this partnership with Microsoft. This should help alleviate some of the concerns about facts, search, validity, and copyright in the information provided by the virtual assistant. I’ll have more on this in an upcoming post.
Lastly, Microsoft is an interesting partner for OpenAI. They do business with an certain ethos and value structure. This is important as they make sure business and corporate partners remain happy. They’re taking a big risk digging in with OpenAI, given some of the pushback with this variety of AI virtual assistants, but Microsoft needs to make this bet. We’re in store for a battle between Microsoft, Google, and some other players that will inform the future of search, and how we engage in digital literacy practices.