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The Chat Around Open AI is that its Lead Over Google is Artificial

The chat around Open AI is that its lead over Google is artificial by Colin Cobry

The chat around Open AI is that its lead over Google is artificial by Colin Cobry

As delegates gathered at the Moscone Convention Centre in San Francisco for the Google Cloud Next ’23 conference, there was only really one thing on everyone’s mind.

Amid the clinking of wine glasses and beer bottles on the open air terraces and plazas, the chatter was all about the issue of the moment – the stratospheric rise of artificial intelligence (AI) over the past 12 months and, more specifically, Google’s place in the new order of what has become the world’s dominant technology.

Some have argued that the company, which has done more than any other to advance the possibilities of AI in search engines and business software, was caught asleep at the wheel last December when Open AI – a start-up company founded just a few miles from the convention centre – launched ChatGPT, a large language model (LLM) platform, which took the world by storm.

When Google realised others were assimilating all its AI knowledge into their own smart new products, that threatened to turn the tables on the company’s dominance, it decided to pivot.

A policy shift introduced earlier this year, aimed at protecting Google’s AI advancements as part of a broader shift within the company to defend its position in the AI industry.

The company has since restructured its AI operations to accelerate product development, with a focus on launching AI tools quickly. 

It merged Google Brain with DeepMind, aiming to make progress in AI at a faster pace. But the company’s new approach comes as voices in the industry are calling for greater caution in AI development.

At this point I should declare an interest. As one of a handful of official Google partners in the UK, this has a potentially significant bearing for the future direction of my company.

Google’s size and influence mean that its shift towards faster AI product launches has raised concerns among regulators, researchers, and business leaders. The company’s participation in a White House meeting reflects the growing scrutiny of AI development and safety.

It was against this backdrop that Cobry’s four-strong team approached the conference, with around 20,000 Google executives, employees, developers, partners from around the world. 

Before anyone starts to feel too sorry for the global company, delegates learned that it recently surpassed a milestone of $32billion annual revenue in Q2 2023, reflecting its success across various industries. 

And despite challenges from competitors, more and more businesses are now embracing its AI technology.

One of its standout achievements, trumpeted at the conference, was the success of AI-powered tools, such as Duet AI, designed to assist users in various tasks, from email writing to presentation creation. While these are still in their early stages, they hold significant potential for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 

The ability to have AI assist with content creation, automate routine tasks, and offer communication suggestions can save time and manpower, ultimately becoming indispensable productivity boosters.

Google’s partnership with NVIDIA, a leader in GPU technology, gives it preferential access to hardware required for running AI applications. 

This partnership provides SMEs using Google’s AI-powered solutions access to cutting-edge hardware, further enhancing the efficiency and speed of AI-driven processes.

The company’s commitment to AI extends beyond productivity tools, as it is actively integrating AI into its security systems to combat evolving cyber threats. 

Its Vertex AI platform offers more than 100 foundation models and industry-specific models, making generative AI more accessible. 

So, is all this activity a good or a bad thing for businesses and consumers or should we be encouraging greater competition? For all its initial success, Open AI remains a relative upstart, nipping at the heels of behemoth companies like Google and others.

The message to delegates in San Francisco was that, while chatter around ChatGPT may have temporarily stolen the spotlight, Google’s bounce-back is well underway.

Colin Bryce is Managing Director of Cobry, a UK-based digital transformation company and Google Cloud partner.

Manufacturing & Engineering Magazine | The Home of Manufacturing Industry News

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