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Bing, Bard, ChatGPT, and all the news on AI chatbots – The Verge

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By Umar Shakir, a news writer fond of the electric vehicle lifestyle and things that plug in via USB-C. He spent over 15 years in IT support before joining The Verge.
Big players, including Microsoft, with its Bing AI (and Copilot), Google, with Bard, and OpenAI, with ChatGPT-4, are making AI chatbot technology previously restricted to test labs more accessible to the general public.
How do these large language model (LLM) programs work? OpenAI’s GPT-3 told us that AI uses “a series of autocomplete-like programs to learn language” and that these programs analyze “the statistical properties of the language” to “make educated guesses based on the words you’ve typed previously.” 
Or, in the words of James Vincent, a human person: “These AI tools are vast autocomplete systems, trained to predict which word follows the next in any given sentence. As such, they have no hard-coded database of ‘facts’ to draw on — just the ability to write plausible-sounding statements. This means they have a tendency to present false information as truth since whether a given sentence sounds plausible does not guarantee its factuality.”
But there are so many more pieces to the AI landscape that are coming into play — and there are going to be problems — but you can be sure to see it all unfold here on The Verge.
Sep 7
Emma Roth
Anthropic, the AI company backed by Google, has launched a paid version of its Claude chatbot in the US and UK. Priced at $20 (or £18) per month, the new Claude Pro option offers priority access when the bot is busy, early access to new features, and the ability to send more messages.
The main draw is that you’ll get five times more usage with Claude Pro when compared to the free tier, which means you can send more messages in a shorter period of time. Anthropic says the typical user will get at least 100 messages every eight hours depending on Claude’s capacity. The company says it will warn you when you have 10 messages remaining, with its limits resetting every eight hours.
Sep 6
Monica Chin
Apple is investing millions of dollars per day into artificial intelligence, according to a new report from The Information. The company is reportedly working on multiple AI models across several teams.
Apple’s unit that works on conversational AI is called “Foundational Models,” per The Information’s reporting. It has “around 16” members, including several former Google engineers. It’s helmed by John Giannandrea, Apple’s head of AI, who was hired in 2018 to help improve Siri. (Giannandrea has reportedly “expressed skepticism to colleagues about the potential usefulness of chatbots powered by AI language models.”)
Sep 1
Emilia David
Gizmodo owner G/O Media laid off editors of its Spanish-language site Gizmodo en Español and is now using AI to translate articles.
Matías S. Zavia, a writer at Gizmodo en Español, posted that the publication was shut down on August 29th and that it would now publish automatically translated articles. Gizmodo en Español previously had a small staff who wrote original stories and created Spanish-language adaptations of pieces from the English-language Gizmodo.
Aug 31
Emilia David
Chinese giant Baidu officially launched its chatbot, Ernie Bot, after the government approved its application, alongside that of several other AI companies. 
Ernie Bot is now available for download from app stores or Baidu’s website. Much like its main rival, ChatGPT, users can ask Ernie Bot questions or prompt it to help write market analysis, give marketing slogan ideas, and summarize documents. The company told The Verge Ernie Bot is available globally, but users need a Chinese number to register and log in. The Baidu app is available on US Android and iOS app stores but is only in Chinese.
Aug 29
Alex Heath
After releasing its My AI chatbot earlier this year, Snapchat is now jumping on the AI selfie bandwagon with a new feature called Dreams.
Located in the camera roll section of Snapchat called Memories, Dreams are the company’s own take on the generative AI selfies that one-off apps like Lensa have already popularized. After uploading a series of real-life selfies in the app specifically for Dreams, Snapchat displays a series of eight-photo packs to choose from with themes like doppelgangers or back-to-school.
Aug 29
David Pierce
The Google DeepMind team has believed for years that building great generative AI tools also requires building great tools to detect what has been created by AI. There are plenty of obvious, high-stakes reasons why, says Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis. “Every time we talk about it and other systems, it’s, ‘What about the problem of deepfakes?’” With another contentious election season coming in 2024 in both the US and the UK, Hassabis says that building systems to identify and detect AI imagery is more important all the time.
Hassabis and his team have been working on a tool for the last few years, which Google is releasing publicly today. It’s called SynthID, and it’s designed to essentially watermark an AI-generated image in a way that is imperceptible to the human eye but easily caught by a dedicated AI detection tool. 
Aug 28
Emilia David
OpenAI finally released a version of ChatGPT that promises to protect business data as more companies consider using the platform but worry about privacy and security. 
In a blog post, OpenAI said ChatGPT Enterprise offers better security and privacy, unlimited high-speed access to GPT-4, more powerful data analysis so companies understand information much faster, and the ability to ask more complicated questions to ChatGPT.
Aug 28
Alex Heath
Poe, the AI chatbot platform created by Quora, has added a slew of updates, including a Mac app, the ability to have multiple simultaneous conversations with the same AI bot, access to Meta’s Llama 2 model, and more. It’s also planning an enterprise tier so that companies can manage the platform for their employees, according to an email that was recently sent to Poe users.
As my colleague David Pierce wrote in April, Poe’s ambition is to be the web browser for AI chatbots. Adam D’Angelo, the CEO of Poe’s parent company Quora, also sits on the board of OpenAI and thinks that the number of AI bots will keep increasing. Poe wants to be the one place where you can find them all.
Aug 28
Emma Roth
First introduced to Bing.com and the Edge sidebar in July, Bing Chat Enterprise allows companies to use Microsoft’s AI-powered chatbot without having to worry about their conversations being used to train its underlying model.
Now Microsoft will let companies access the chatbot in Windows Copilot as well, with the launch of it in preview for “eligible commercial customers in the Dev channel.”
Aug 22
Wes Davis
OpenAI has announced that businesses can now fine-tune GPT-3.5 Turbo using their own data — OpenAI claims the resulting custom model can match or exceed the abilities of GPT-4 for certain tasks. Later this fall, the company says it will open up the arguably more advanced GPT-4 for the same purpose.
Fine-tuning lets businesses essentially hone ChatGPT to a more focused model that’s especially efficient for certain tasks. The supervised training would make a bot that’s unique to the client company so that it offers, say, reliable responses in a specific language or with more concise wording. Until now, business customers were limited to GPT-3 variants for this, like davinci-002 or babbage-002.
Aug 21
Jay Peters and Wes Davis
The New York Times has blocked OpenAI’s web crawler, meaning that OpenAI can’t use content from the publication to train its AI models. If you check the NYT’s robots.txt page, you can see that the NYT disallows GPTBot, the crawler that OpenAI introduced earlier this month. Based on the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, it appears NYT blocked the crawler as early as August 17th.
The change comes after the NYT updated its terms of service at the beginning of this month to prohibit the use of its content to train AI models. New York Times spokesperson Charlie Stadtlander spokesperson declined to comment. OpenAI didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Aug 21
Wes Davis and Richard Lawler
Nvidia’s AI lead pushed it to become a $1 trillion company, while its H100 chips are so in demand they can be used as collateral even as the next-gen Nvidia GH200 sits on the horizon.
Now the New York Times describes how it’s established a monstrous lead over other chipmakers, extending a victory tour of editorial recounting Nvidia “hand-delivering processors to Elon Musk and Sam Altman,” how it started in a Denny’s, and CEO Jensen Huang’s SIGGRAPH keynote outlining its decision to focus on AI.
Aug 20
Wes Davis
Programmer and writer Alex Reisner’s expansive piece for The Atlantic documents his deep dive into the dataset, identifying all but 20,000 of the 190,000 books it contains, as well as its history and controversy surrounding it.
Books3, part of a larger dataset called “The Pile” created by EleutherAI, is the linchpin of Sarah Silverman’s lawsuit against OpenAI.
[The Atlantic]
Aug 19
Wes Davis
United States District Court Judge Beryl A. Howell ruled on Friday that AI-generated artwork can’t be copyrighted, as noted by The Hollywood Reporter. She was presiding over a lawsuit against the US Copyright Office after it refused a copyright to Stephen Thaler for an AI-generated image made with the Creativity Machine algorithm he’d created.
Thaler had tried multiple times to copyright the image “as a work-for-hire to the owner of the Creativity Machine,” which would have listed the author as the creator of the work and Thaler as the artwork’s owner, but he was repeatedly rejected.
Aug 18
Jay Peters
A Microsoft travel guide for Ottawa, Canada, prominently recommended tourists visit the Ottawa Food Bank, as spotted by Paris Marx until it was removed after this article was originally published. (You can see the article in full here.) The food bank was the No. 3 recommendation on the list, sitting behind the National War Memorial and above going to an Ottawa Senators hockey game.
We reported in 2020 about Microsoft laying off journalists at Microsoft News and MSN to replace them with artificial intelligence. However, the company says its content is not generated by the AI we’re now used to in the form of large language models powering tools like the Bing chatbot or ChatGPT. Instead, the content in Microsoft’s story was generated through “a combination of algorithmic techniques with human review,” according to the company. As explained in a statement to The Verge from Jeff Jones, a senior director at Microsoft:
Aug 15
Jay Peters
Google’s AI-powered Search Generative Experience (SGE) is getting a major new feature: it will be able to summarize articles you’re reading on the web, according to a Google blog post. SGE can already summarize search results for you so that you don’t have to scroll forever to find what you’re looking for, and this new feature is designed to take that further by helping you out after you’ve actually clicked a link.
You probably won’t see this feature, which Google is calling “SGE while browsing,” right away.
Aug 11
Alex Heath
The most sought-after resource in the tech industry right now isn’t a specific type of engineer. It’s not even money. It’s an AI chip made by Nvidia called the H100
Securing these GPUs is “considerably harder to get than drugs,” Elon Musk has said. “Who’s getting how many H100s and when is top gossip of the valley rn,” OpenAI’s Andrej Karpathy posted last week.
Aug 11
Jay Peters
Zoom has updated its terms of service and reworded a blog post explaining recent terms of service changes referencing its generative AI tools. The company now explicitly states that “communications-like” customer data isn’t being used to train artificial intelligence models for Zoom or third parties. What is covered by communications-like? Basically, the content of your videoconferencing on Zoom.
Here’s the key passage from the newly-revised terms:
Aug 9
Mia Sato
Technology news outlet CNET has deleted thousands of older articles from its site, telling staff the deletions will improve its Google Search ranking, according to an internal memo. The news was first reported by Gizmodo.
Gizmodo reports that, since July, thousands of articles have been removed from CNET. In the memo, CNET says that so-called content pruning “sends a signal to Google that says CNET is fresh, relevant and worthy of being placed higher than our competitors in search results.” Stories slated to be “deprecated” are archived using the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine, and authors are alerted at least 10 days in advance, according to the memo.
Aug 9
Emma Roth
Newegg’s new AI-generated review summaries could make it easier to sift through user feedback while you search for PC parts and other tech. In addition to providing a short summary of what people are saying about a product, the AI also picks out pros and cons based on user reviews.
The feature leverages the technology behind OpenAI’s ChatGPT and lives within the “Reviews” tab toward the bottom of a product’s page. There, you’ll see a list of pros and cons that you can click on, allowing you to filter reviews by specific keywords and see where the AI got its information from. Below that, you’ll also see an AI-generated summary that combines all the key pieces of feedback into a short paragraph.
Aug 8
Emilia David
In the world of generative AI, it is the big names that get the most airtime. Big Tech players like Microsoft and lavishly funded startups like OpenAI have earned invitations to the White House and the earliest of what will likely be many, many congressional hearings. They’re the ones that get big profile pieces to discuss how their technology will end humanity. As politicians in the US and beyond grapple with how to regulate AI, this handful of companies has played an outsize role in setting the terms of the conversation. And smaller AI players, both commercial and noncommercial, are feeling left out — while facing a more uncertain future. 
Big AI — a term that’s long overdue for adoption — has been actively guiding potential AI policies. Last month, OpenAI, Meta, Microsoft, Google, Anthropic, and Amazon signed an agreement with the White House promising to invest in responsible AI and develop watermarking features to flag AI-generated content. Soon after, OpenAI, Microsoft, Anthropic, and Google formed the Frontier Model Forum, an industry coalition targeted to “promote the safe and responsible use of frontier AI systems.” It was set up to advance AI research, find best practices, and share information with policymakers and the rest of the AI ecosystem.
Aug 5
Wes Davis
Apple says it’s been working on AI research for years, and recent job listings show its current focus, reports the Financial Times.
Over the last few months company has posted dozens of AI jobs in the US, France, and China, looking to fill roles that could help build generative AI tools that use local processing on mobile devices, like this one:
We are seeking a candidate with a proven track record in applied ML research. Responsibilities in the role will include training large scale language and multimodal models on distributed backends, deployment of compact neural architectures such as transformers efficiently on device, and learning policies that can be personalized to the user in a privacy preserving manner.
Aug 2
David Pierce
Google’s AI-powered Search Generative Experience is getting a big new feature: images and video. If you’ve enabled the AI-based SGE feature in Search Labs, you’ll now start to see more multimedia in the colorful summary box at the top of your search results. Google’s also working on making that summary box appear faster and adding more context to the links it puts in the box.
SGE may still be in the “experiment” phase, but it’s very clearly the future of Google Search. “It really gives us a chance to, now, not always be constrained in the way search was working before,” CEO Sundar Pichai said on Alphabet’s most recent earnings call. “It allows us to think outside the box.” He then said that “over time, this will just be how search works.”
Jul 31
Emma Roth
Google is planning to update Assistant with features powered by generative AI, according to a report from Axios. In an email obtained by the outlet, Google tells staff members that it has already started exploring a “supercharged” Assistant powered by the newest large language models (LLM), similar to the technology behind ChatGPT and Google’s own Bard chatbot. According to the email, “A portion of the team has already started working on this, beginning with mobile.”
As part of this change, Google says it’s condensing the team that works on Assistant. The email obtained by Axios states that the company is “eliminating a small number of roles,” although it’s unclear how many employees are affected. According to Axios, Google laid off “dozens” of workers. The Verge reached out to Google to confirm this, and we’ll update this article if we get more information.
Jul 27
Richard Lawler
The ChatGPT for Android app is now available in the Google Play Store, launching a few months after the free iOS app brought the chatbot to iPhones and iPads. According to a company tweet, it’s available first in the US, India, Bangladesh, and Brazil, with other countries set to follow later, mimicking the staged rollout we saw for the iOS version.
On July 27th, OpenAI announced additional availability, saying the Android ChatGPT app is now available in Argentina, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, the UK, and South Korea.
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