For decades, Microsoft was unable to “reinvent” the browser, sticking to its obsolete Internet Explorer until it got replaced by Edge, based on Google’s Chromium.
But now, according to the tech dinosaur, it is nothing less than “reinventing” both Bing, its search engine, and Edge, by making them “AI-powered.” It is an undertaking Microsoft is carrying out together with OpenAI.
Microsoft is a major investor (the figure reportedly runs into billions) in OpenAI, an artificial intelligence lab, so it’s no surprise they would be partnering to “innovate.”
And they are doing it “responsibly,” meaning that, “safeguards to defend against harmful content” and “address issues such as misinformation and disinformation (…) and preventing the promotion of harmful or discriminatory content” will be implemented.
One way to interpret this is that Bing and Edge will now come with censorship baked right in the products themselves, ostensibly requiring less intervention after the fact – “responsible by design” is how a post on Microsoft’s blog, buzzing with industry buzzwords, puts it.
The “AI-powered” search and browser are currently available as a preview and promise not only better search, but also incorporating chat for those “more complex questions” that Microsoft says current search engines often fail to properly answer, as well as “the ability to generate content.”
The blog post consistently mentions “chat” – but what they clearly mean is integrating some variation on OpenAI’s ChatGPT both in the search itself, and in Edge, where access to it is added in the UI.
According to Microsoft’s announcement, it is “more powerful” but builds on ChatGPT and GPT-3.5. And good news for lovers of closed-source, proprietary software: the Redmond giant has something called the “Prometheus” model, which it described as a proprietary way of working with the OpenAI one.
It seems that the goal is to bring in as much control to the search as possible, on the part of the tech giant, though it doesn’t quite describe it that way, instead promising “more relevant, timely, and targeted results” – and “improved safety.”
The core search, naturally, is ruled by algorithms, and Microsoft says it is now applying AI to Bing’s ranking engine, in order to make the results “more accurate and more relevant than ever.”
Right now, all this is available on the desktop, but the preview will “scale to millions” in the coming weeks. The mobile is next, where the model will also be first available as a preview.
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