Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on challenging Google with the help of AI technology: “It’s a new race”
For the past two decades, more people have used Google to explore the internet than any other search engine. Now, Microsoft is looking to challenge that dominance using breakthroughs in artificial intelligence.
Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled an advanced version of its search engine Bing. Along with the usual search results, ChatGPT-like technology can answer complex questions, help users make decisions and turn even complex questions into conversational answers.
For Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, it’s all a generational chance to put his company back on top when it comes to innovation.
“It’s a new race in the most important software category, or the largest software category, in search. Let’s face it,” Nadella told CBS News’ Tony Dokoupil. “Google dominates it. We are thrilled to be here launching Bing to compete.”
Microsoft developed the technology in partnership with OpenAI, the research lab in which it has invested billions of dollars. OpenAI is also behind the viral chatbot ChatGPT. The new AI model is touted to be more powerful than its predecessor, but in an early demonstration set up for CBS News, the feature was at times was slow, unresponsive and inaccurate.
Nadella said the only way for any new technology to be “really perfected” is by receiving “real human feedback” in the market.
Particularly with AI, “it has to get aligned with human preferences, both personally and societally in terms of the norms. And that’s why we want to launch it,” he said. “We want to have all the safety. We want to have all of the things that will make sure that no harms are created. But we need it out there in the real world.”
Nadella said the model has been trained with safety as a top priority and that it will not help someone do anything illegal.
“We will have many, many mechanisms to ensure that nothing biased, nothing harmful gets generated,” Nadella said.
A Microsoft executive declined CBS News’ request to test some of those mechanisms, indicating the functionality was “probably not the best thing” on the version in use for the demonstration.
Nadella also addressed concerns about “runaway AI,” which he said would be “a real problem” if it happened.
“The way to sort of deal with that is to make sure it never runs away,” he said.
“And so that’s why I look at it and say … let’s start with … the context in which AI is used,” Nadella said. “The first set of categories in which we should use these powerful models are where humans, unambiguously, unquestionably, are in charge. And so as long as we sort of start there, characterize these models, make these models more safe and over time much more explainable, then we can think about other forms of usage.”
“But let’s not have it run away,” he said.