Alphabet is combining Google Brain and DeepMind, as it doubles down on artificial intelligence research in its race to compete with rival systems like OpenAI’s ChatGPT chatbot.
The new division will be led by DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis and its setting up will ensure “bold and responsible development of general AI”, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in a blog post on Thursday.
Alphabet said the teams that are being combined have delivered a number of high-profile projects including the transformer, technology that formed the bedrock of some of OpenAI’s own work.
Going forward, the Alphabet staff will work on “multimodal” AI, like OpenAI’s latest model GPT-4, which can respond not only to text prompts but to image inputs as well to generate new content. Google has for decades dominated the search market, with a share of over 80 percent, but Wall Street fears that the Alphabet unit could fall behind Microsoft Corp in the fast-moving AI race. Technology from OpenAI, funded by Microsoft, powers the rival software maker’s updated Bing search engine.
Alphabet announced the launch of Bard in February to take on ChatGPT as well. It lost $100 billion in value on Feb. 8 after Bard shared inaccurate information in a promotional video and a company event failed to dazzle.
Alphabet shares were up 2 percent on Thursday. Earlier this week, it was reported that Alphabet shares fell over 4 percent in premarket trading after a report that said South Korea’s Samsung Electronics was considering replacing Google with Microsoft-owned Bing as the default search engine on its devices.
The report, published by the New York Times over the weekend, underscored the growing challenges Google’s $162-billion (roughly Rs. 13,29,477 crore) a-year search engine business faces from Bing — a minor player that has risen in prominence recently after the integration of the artificial intelligence tech behind ChatGPT.
Google’s reaction to the threat was “panic” as the company earns an estimated $3 billion (roughly Rs. 24,625 crore) in annual revenue from the Samsung contract, the report said, citing internal messages.
© Thomson Reuters 2023