Over 90 percent of all searches in the world usually go through Google, which brings in hundreds of billions of dollars every year. Then came the newcomer ChatGPT and gained 100 million users in two months, who could now search for ready-made answers instead of "googling" their way to links. How does it feel to be overtaken like this?
"It's like when Alexa and Siri came along (Amazon and Apple's voice-based AI assistants), we got the same questions. The important thing for us is not to be first, but to get it right, says Google and the parent company Alphabet's CEO Sundar Pichai to SVT in an exclusive interview when he is on a temporary visit to Stockholm.
Pressured to launch
You didn't have to be second on the ball. The technology behind these language models, which ChatGPT and Bard use, was partly developed by Google in 2017. Why didn't they launch an AI assistant like this earlier?
"I have been focused on developing the systems in a safe and responsible manner. They have downsides, they are not always reliable. Because we are focused on delivering credible information, we were more cautious about using these models.
But when they were overtaken by ChatGPT in November, there was full focus on boosting their own services with as much AI as possible. Recently, the own chatbot Bard was launched. But it is clear that they would have preferred to let it take a little more time.
"We probably would have given it another year before we launched," Picahi admits.
What risks does Google see in using chatbots today?
– If you come to us to seek information about the right dosage of a drug, then you want it to be right. It is an example of a question that these models are not yet ready to answer correctly.
Sundar Pichai began the day by meeting Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, among other things, to talk about AI. Sweden holds the presidency of the EU, which is developing regulation of artificial intelligence.
"AI is too important not to be regulated, it's also too important not to be regulated well. We want to avoid considering all applications of AI as high risk. This is a technology that touches every industry and an opportunity for Europe to embrace innovation that can boost competitiveness.