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Friday, July 19, 2024

Google and OpenAI are battling for AI supremacy

This week, the tech giants introduced completely different visions for the way forward for generative AI.

The OpenAI logo inside a foggy sphere
Illustration by The Atlantic

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This week has felt just like the early days of the generative-AI growth, stuffed with dazzling occasions regarding the way forward for the know-how.

On Monday, OpenAI held a last-minute “Spring Replace” occasion wherein the corporate introduced its latest AI mannequin, GPT-4o, in a formidable reside demo. Working on the iPhone’s ChatGPT app, the mannequin appeared capable of perceive reside digicam footage, assist resolve a math downside, and translate a reside dialog between English and Italian audio system. Each earlier smartphone assistant, together with Apple’s Siri, now seems out of date—and the smartphone itself could be reimagined because the machine most “completely positioned to run generative-AI applications,” as I wrote on Monday.

To not be outdone, Google adopted go well with yesterday throughout its annual developer convention, which targeted virtually solely on generative AI. Alongside numerous technological advances, the corporate laid out its imaginative and prescient for search within the AI period: “Google will do the Googling for you,” Liz Reid, the corporate’s head of search, declared. In different phrases, chatbots will take the work out of discovering info on-line. Lurking beneath the bulletins was an acknowledgment that AI is best suited at synthesizing present info and formatting it into an accessible format than offering clear, definitive solutions. “​​That’s not omniscience; it’s the flexibility to faucet into Google’s preexisting index of the net,” I famous yesterday.

OpenAI’s and Google’s bulletins are a duel over not simply which product is greatest, however which form of generative AI shall be most helpful to individuals. The ChatGPT app guarantees to do every thing, multi functional place; AI-powered Google search guarantees to be extra of an open-ended information. Whether or not customers will embrace both imaginative and prescient of a remade internet stays to be seen.

— Matteo Wong, affiliate editor

What to Learn Subsequent

  • The reside translation exhibited in OpenAI’s demo gestures towards a world wherein individuals now not really feel compelled to be taught international languages. Louise Matsakis explored this potential AI-induced loss of life of bilingualism in March, writing, “We could discover that we’ve allowed deep human connections to get replaced by communication that’s technically proficient however in the end hole.”
  • One other, maybe much more alarming future for the world’s languages: Generative AI, which is most proficient within the handful of languages with plentiful coaching knowledge, could push hundreds of different tongues into extinction. “If generative AI certainly turns into the portal by way of which the web is accessed,” I wrote in March, “then billions of individuals could actually be worse off than they’re right this moment.”


The thrill over AI picture mills and deepfakes was preceded, many years in the past, by comparable pleasure and hand-wringing over Adobe’s Photoshop, then “the first battlefield for debates round pretend imagery,” my colleague Caroline Mimbs Nyce wrote final week. Within the age of AI, Photoshop is struggling to regulate to being only one participant in a crowded area.

— Matteo

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