Sparrow, Google’s answer to ChatGPT

It’s been a long time since a tech topic has received so much attention. In a few weeks, ChatGPT will have completely eclipsed the Metaverse, Elon Musk, and NFTs in the trade press.

Opening up this type of technology to the general public follows the usual steps: first, everyone is enchanted by its potential. Then we point the finger at unlawful uses; and we get a little disillusioned when we see our limitations. But in the future, many professionals and individuals will probably use tools based on GPT-3, then GPT-4 or other assimilated models.

OpenAI technology worries Google executives

Despite its intrinsic limitations, ChatGPT represents an impressive playground today. This technology. According to the New York TimesThe fears are so great that Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two co-founders of Google, have reinvested the premises to adapt the company’s strategy regarding artificial intelligence. A remarkable return to business initiated by Sundar Pichai himself.

The New York Times article states that Google plans to introduce 20 products based on artificial intelligence this year. The annual Google I/O conference, which will take place in May 2023, could be an opportunity to discover some of these technologies. We’re talking about a tool for image generationProjects related to augmented shopping, video creation, but also professional software to support developers in the development of Android applications.

Sparrow, DeepMind’s chatbot that looks like ChatGPT

ChatGPT could eclipse Google because the tool allows to achieve partially what a search engine offers: access to information, structured, based on queries formulated by the Internet user in natural language. And when we see that Billions injected into OpenAI by Microsoftwe can see the risks for the Mountain View company…

A chatbot called Sparrow

One of Google’s answers could lie in the development of a chatbot called Sparrow, which is being developed by DeepMind, the artificial intelligence subsidiary of Google’s parent company – known for AlphaGo, the computer program that defeated Lee Sedol at the game of Go, or even AlphaCode, a technology that can write computer code.

Last September, the company released his research about the Sparrow project. Without going into technical details, let’s say that it’s a chatbot that works a bit like ChatGPT, in the sense that the machine learns from interactions with humans to improve the results it offers.

Sparrow’s model evolves with user responses © DeepMind

A private beta of Sparrow in 2023

In an interview, CEO and co-founder of DeepMind, Demis Hassabis, states that Sparrow will be released in private beta in 2023. Too slow response on ChatGPT? Above all, what we see between the lines is the market leader’s prudence on these issues, given the implications that artificial intelligence-based technologies could have. With a tool like ChatGPT or Sparrow we think of misinformation, censorship, the spread of stereotypes or hate comments. DeepMind is therefore in a delicate situation: to speed up the response to ChatGPT via Sparrow while limiting the bias and risks associated with AI. Quite a challenge, which is now one of Google’s priorities.

Differences between Sparrow and ChatGPT

Sparrow should differ from ChatGPT in several ways. In the screenshot at the top of the article, taken from documents published by DeepMind, we note in particular the indication of the sources used by the artificial intelligence. This is a crucial point for at least two reasons: it allows users to explore this content to go further, to verify the accuracy of the information and its correct interpretation; and this could allow Google to offer fair attribution to the authors of the content.

The search engine has been showing enriched and structured results at the top of the results for many years in order to give the Internet user a direct answer. This has always been a sensitive issue, as Google is regularly accused of appropriating the content of the pages it references. It started with simple answers; However, it is clear that the results formatted in this way are always more complete, even with complex queries. The integration of the sites used in Sparrow could therefore make it possible to spare publishers, who could be badly affected if this type of service gains popularity, while providing an adequate and source-related answer for the users.

Also, one of the limitations of the current version of ChatGPT is the age of its data – that’s late 2021. Google is primarily a tool that crawls and indexes content. The timeliness of the data could therefore represent a decisive advantage in the coming battle in this sector.

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