Google’s AI Journey has been a pioneering one, with the company investing billions of dollars in developing AI technology and leading AI research and development. However, its rival Microsoft seems to have gained an edge in the AI space through its collaboration with OpenAI, the makers of ChatGPT, despite Google’s long-standing commitment to the field.
This has raised questions about how Google has seemingly lost its lead in the AI field.
Investment in AI Research
Google has been a leader in AI among the big tech companies, with a long history of investment in AI research. In 2011, Google established a research unit called Google Brain, led by the well-respected researcher Jeff Dean.
Since then, Google has been one of the biggest producers of AI research, contributing to the advancement of the field both in academia and in corporate America. Google has integrated AI into many of its products, such as search, YouTube, and Google Translate, which are heavily powered by AI.
Chatbots and Google’s AI Journey
Google has been working on chatbots for many years, and its interest in chatbots can be traced back to its co-founder Larry Page, who was fascinated by the idea of machines becoming as intelligent as humans.
Page brought in popularizer of the idea, Ray Kurzweil, to work on chatbots, and later, a software engineer at YouTube, Daniel Defreitas, started working on a chatbot called Meena. Google continued to develop its chatbot, which went through multiple iterations and was eventually renamed to LaMDA.
Attempts to Release LaMDA
Daniel and his team were eager to release LaMDA to researchers, but Google was cautious about releasing the chatbot, as it did not meet the seven AI principles that Google had developed to guard against AI-related harm to society.
Despite efforts by Noam Shazeer, another researcher at Google Brain, to improve LaMDA, the chatbot remained internal and was not released to the public. The developers of LaMDA eventually grew frustrated with Google’s cautious approach and quit in late 2021 to start their own company, Character.
Google’s Stance on LaMDA
Google has commented on the decision not to release LaMDA to the public, stating that it was a cool prototype but there was a big gap between a prototype and a product ready for widespread use.
Google stands by its AI principles, which guide its development of AI technology, and it went through multiple reviews before the decision was made to shut it down.
The Future of Google in AI
Despite losing its lead in the AI field, Google still has a strong presence in the technology industry, with the most popular browser, search engine, and mobile operating system. Google has a history of being second but eventually becoming the largest, as it builds user trust over time.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has acknowledged this, telling employees that the company is not always first but often becomes the largest. With the rise of chatbots and AI programs like ChatGPT and Bing search, it will be interesting to see how Google continues to evolve in the AI field.
Google has a long and storied history in the AI field, but its recent setbacks have raised questions about its future in the field. Despite these setbacks, Google still has a strong presence in the technology industry and a proven track record of being second but eventually becoming the largest.
It will be interesting to see how Google continues to evolve in the AI field and how it competes with companies like Microsoft and OpenAI in the future.