The Generative AI Race
The next big thing in tech isn’t the blockchain or the metaverse—it’s a mind-bending wave of algorithmic content machines.
Imagine software conjuring up entirely new cities from scratch, inventing new languages and generating images of people who don’t even exist! It seems like a far-fetched dream, doesn’t it? The mighty power of artificial intelligence, however, has made this our new reality.
Artificial Intelligence has been popping up everywhere in the mainstream and making headlines in leading news articles. It is most certainly the latest buzzword on everybody’s lips, but not an entirely new concept. The AI revolution has been taking place for quite some time now, although the pace has been steady. Unknowingly, it has crept into our daily lives, our streaming habits for instance. Netflix and Spotify make use of AI to suggest content based on the stuff already watched and listened to. This is only the tip of the iceberg. From making its presence known in multiple avenues from Siri to Alexa, self-driving cars to predictive marketing, AI is making its mark in modern times and we are at the cusp of a tech revolution.
Decoding the enigma
Generative AI, one of the most promising areas of Artificial Intelligence, has been wowing the internet with its ability to push the boundaries of what's possible. One could consider it a genie, granting our wishes for efficiency and precision with a wave of its digital wand. With the capability to read text, images, audio, and video data, it creates new content that is uncanny in its resemblance to the original. Generative AI functions using unsupervised or semi-supervised learning to process large amounts of data and generate novel outputs. For instance, if we want the AI to be able to paint like Picasso, it needs to be fed as many paintings by the artist as possible. The neural network at the base of generative AI can learn the character traits or features of the artist’s style and then apply it on command. This process is replicated for models that write texts and even books, create interior and fashion designs, non-existent landscapes, music, and more. The popularity has been maximized as a result of the proliferation of AI-powered chatbots ChatGPT and Bard. They have taken the internet by a frenzy, blurring the lines between man and machine.
The chatbot search wars have begun. Two of the biggest tech giants, Microsoft and Google, have been kept busy in the race to build a generative artificial intelligence tool. Microsoft’s market capitalisation has reached 2 trillion dollars for the first time in nearly six months after it added ChatGPT to its search engine Bing. The company has also planned to integrate its artificial intelligence technology into its productivity apps including Word, PowerPoint and Outlook.
Meet Bard, Google’s answer to ChatGPT. It is an experimental conversational AI service, powered by the Language Model for Dialogue Application (LaMDA). It had initially tried to give equal competition to ChatGPT. But the bot isn’t off to a great start, with experts noting that Bard made a factual error in its very first demo. Even Quora and Alibaba have entered the competition.
Generative language tools mentioned above will undoubtedly change what it means to search the web, shaking up an industry worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually, by making it easier to dig up useful information and advice. The algorithms they use are designed to predict what should happen after a prompt based on statistical patterns in huge amounts of text from the internet and books.
The AI search wars may have begun, but perhaps the winner won't be the most powerful chatbot, but the one that messes up the least.
Let AI do the work for you
In addition to producing paragraphs of solidly written English (or French, or Mandarin, or whatever language you choose), this AI can also generate blocks of computer code on command. Besides students generating entire essays using ChatGPT in the classroom, hackers have begun developing malicious code with it as well. Some universities have also banned the use of ChatGPT as it is considered an unreliable source. The ability of this impressive bot to clear competitive exams like medical and law has taken the world by surprise, and many believe that people are going to see years as pre and post-ChatGPT. Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates said he believes that OpenAIs chatbot ChatGPT is as significant as the invention of the internet and it will “change the world”. Such new programs will most definitely make many office jobs more efficient by helping to write invoices or letters but whether they will replace search engines is a different question altogether.
ChatGPT is truly a game-changer in the conversational technology industry, but also raises important questions about the potential risks and challenges associated with this technology. Some have claimed that the bot is limited to the knowledge and choices that are already on the internet. One should be aware that it is not capable of verifying the accuracy of the information in training data and may generate responses that are false or misleading. The use of AI language models also raises questions about the privacy and security of personal data used to train and improve them.
It is very evident to state that ChatGPT and other AI models have the potential to displace jobs by automating repetitive tasks such as data entry, customer service, etc. However, the displacement of jobs due to AI automation is a complicated issue that can cause economic disruption and impact several industries. While there may be job losses in certain industries, AI will also create new job roles in related fields.
Fast-forward to the Future
As the generative AI era is now duly anointed, what might the next leap or epoch look like? It is a comforting thought to believe that we are capable of adapting in pace with the changes coming with generative AI. However, like a foreshock presaging a large earthquake, this new epoch could be a precursor to an even larger event, the coming AI singularity. The multitude of AI tools now at our disposal accurately represents that there may come a time when AI surpasses human intelligence. Keeping in mind, these are just a few of many models that are in the works, from both companies you know, like Google, and others you may not. It is possible that within the next couple of decades, there could be another ChatGPT-like moment when the world shakes again, even more than it has with generative AI.
Authors: Vanshika Mittal and Riya Sethi
Illustration By: Muskan Bansal