Microsoft and Google have recently made big investments in two of the most valuable companies in artificial intelligence (AI). OpenAI, which developed ChatGPT, has received a staggering investment of US$10 billion (£7.8 billion) from Microsoft, while Google has invested US$300 million in Anthropic.
The companies’ financial support for AI has pushed an ongoing rivalry in to the public spotlight. Google’s struggle for dominance with Microsoft is increasingly at the forefront of discussions about AI’s future success.
Google has made enormous contributions to the field of AI development, including the invention of transformers – a particular form of machine learning, where an algorithm improves at tasks as it is “trained” on data – the advancement of techniques for automating the translation of languages and the acquisition of AI company DeepMind.
The arrival of ChatGPT sparked widespread discussion about artificial general intelligence (AGI) – where machines surpass human intellect. This was also the focus of warnings by Geoffrey Hinton, an influential figure in AI, who gave several interviews outlining his concerns about the technology after resigning from Google earlier this year.
Consequently, the number of research papers focusing on large language models (LLMs) – the type of AI technology ChatGPT is based on – surged. Other AI research areas, such as dialogue systems and information retrieval, stand to lose out.
Amid this rapid technological disruption, it seems that Google fears losing its technological edgeand market dominance.
This concern is not unwarranted. ChatGPT, made by a direct competitor, has made use of Google’s pioneering internet search techniques to generate significant profit. Furthermore, the flow of talent from Google to OpenAI – along with the latter’s rapid growth – has become a worrying trend for the search giant.
When OpenAI was founded, one of its principles was making software that was “open source”, where software is publicly available, allowing developers to share and modify it. Google, meanwhile, has maintained a relatively consistent commercial approach regarding its plans and ambitions.