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Microsoft's ChatGPT investment could create 'game-changer' AI search engine

Microsoft ChatGPT website displayed on a phone screen and Microsoft logo displayed on a screen in the background are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on January 10, 2023. (Photo by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Microsoft ChatGPT does more than just act as a search and learn information dynamic ⁠— it claims to be able to create what you want, in seconds. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty

Microsoft (MSFT) is going all in on ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence (AI) technology that could power a new search engine that could disrupt the dominance of Google (GOOG).

News site Semafor reported on Tuesday that Microsoft is investing $10bn (£8.2bn) in OpenAI, the artificial intelligence firm that launched the AI generative tool ChatGPT in November 2022.

This will value the San Francisco-based firm at $29bn, and industry analysts say that Google should pay close attention to the deal.

Microsoft spends billions of dollars every year to try to compete with Google's search engine dominance, but with comparatively low user interaction on Bing they have failed for over a decade.

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Microsoft has so far failed to replicate the algorithm that powers Google search but if they incorporate the AI generating power of ChatGPT into Bing, or a new search engine, this could be "a game changer", an industry commentator has suggested.

Web3 for enterprise expert Filippo Chisari told Yahoo Finance UK: "I believe Microsoft are most likely looking to build a search engine that will give them a competitive advantage over others.

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"My experience with Microsoft has been that if they invest in something that is not a regional effort, it is usually a game changer, look at Linkedin.

"As you know Google is already losing 'searchability market share' amongst younger crowds as they turn to TikTok for content search, and soon to Youtube as they evangelise their 'Shorts' function."

He added: "I think Microsoft saw an opportunity to revamp a failed tool and ChatGPT adds an additional layer of user-friendliness to the search process, which is where I think they are trying to take the battle to, the UX/UI approach."

The Bing search engine already utilises an older version of GPT to provide automatic search suggestions for users.

GPT was integrated with Bing in the wake of a $1bn investment in the California startup in 2019.

So Microsoft has been quietly supporting users since implementation.

The search experience when using an AI generator would be a paradigm shift in how humans use the internet, because ChatGPT does more than just act as a search and learn information dynamic. Instead this new technology claims to be able to create what you want, in seconds.

What is OpenAI and ChatGPT?

ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence application with a range of articulation. It is able to create haiku, jokes, corporate emails, business plans, fix computer code, write academic essays and even piece of original fiction in the style of any writer you want, from Joyce and Dostoyevsky, to Shakespeare.

Many have raised concerns that the new technology could render human creativity redundant.

To get a measure of the disruptive potential of ChatGPT, Yahoo Finance UK asked the artificial intelligence itself.

When asked how disruptive this new technology is to human creativity the AI application said: "ChatGPT has the potential to be disruptive to human creativity, depending on how it is used.

"It is important to remember that the output of ChatGPT is only as good as the input it is given, so people should be careful to provide clear, thoughtful prompts to get the most out of it.

"Additionally, ChatGPT can never replace the creative thought process of a human being, so it should be seen as a tool rather than a replacement for creative thinking."

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This new application could mean that users don't have to do research anymore or even have to think, plan or design what they want. All a user needs to do is tell ChatGPT what to write, and given a few tweaks and parameters, await a satisfactory end result.

The application can also write for any audience, the parameters can be set to write for a five-year old, or for niche audiences of specific disciplines.

If Microsoft Bing is powered by the latest version of ChatGPT, then Google may need to escalate the development of an alternative AI generator that can power their own search engine.

Google has been exploring the use of similar technologies, such as its own LaMDA system, to support its search product.

However, Google executives warned in a December 2022 meeting that AI “can make stuff up” and could pose a serious reputational risk to the company.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a Yahoo Finance UK request for comment.

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