Google had been at the forefront of AI, until the public unveiling of ChatGPT, an OpenAI blockbuster. It threatened the dominance of Google, even as Alphabet went Code Red. Within months, archrival Microsoft unveiled its own ChatGPT powered Bing search. Amid all the brouhaha, Google unveiled Bard with an ad that cost the company a whopping $100 billion. But it soon launched its smarter iteration in May 2023. Very recently, the search engine giant embedded an AI feature in its search that provides a curated answer to any query besides the SEOd results. Google was coerced to join the generative AI race, despite its fairly well running programs at Google Brain and DeepMind, which were assimilated as one in April 2023. So what’s next for the Sundar Pichai led Silicon Valley giant as it celebrates its silver jubilee? The CEO unraveled in an interview with Wired.
Google just turned 25, and CEO Sundar Pichai says the company is gearing up for 25 more. Pichai spoke to WIRED about AI, fighting bureaucracy, and why he rejects the characterization that he is mainly a consensus builder.
📷 Gabriela Hasbun // 🔗 https://t.co/lDrOd77FPp pic.twitter.com/dBlSNe8a5D
— WIRED (@WIRED) September 11, 2023
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Compared to 25 years ago, Sundar Pichai remarks that Google has a lot more responsibility now, balancing being both bold and responsible. Pichai states that when he became CEO in 2015, it was crystal clear to him that deep neural networks would change everything profoundly. Hence Google’s pivot to AI. The company had been grinding it out but felt the technology needed to be a bit more mature before the products were showcased. Pichai praises OpenAI for the launch of ChatGPT, which showed a product that was market fit, that people could readily understand and fiddle with. However, the Google boss doesn’t worry as much as the tech pundits seem to portray. Pichai states that the arc of technology is too long, and he feels very comfortable about where Google is right now.
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Google always had the tools and talents at its disposal to make something like ChatGPT before OpenAI. Would they have launched anything akin to GPT earlier? Pichai is dubious if it would have worked, but he also believes that in the larger scheme of things, it won’t really matter in 5-10 years. He further quipped, ‘let your bat do the talking.’
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