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OpenAI takes on Google

OpenAI takes on Google


The company that created an AI-powered chatbot called ChatGPT poses a threat to Google’s dominance as the market-leading search engine. Is it a sign of things to come?

“I think that AI will be a technological revolution on the scale of the agricultural, the industrial, the computer revolution.”

OpenAI Advert

Sam Altmann is one of the founders of OpenAI, an American technology company which is taking the world by storm. 

It specialises in Artificial Intelligence: machines which are designed to perform any task a human being is capable of. 

Alexi Mostrous writes Tortoise’s tech newsletter. He says OpenAI was set up by a group of people who were worried about the direction that advanced artificial intelligence was heading.

“OpenAI was set up in 2015 by this dream team of Silicon Valley pioneers. So Elon Musk, Sam Altman, Peter Teal, the founder of PayPal. They came together and, put in collectively, I think it was a billion dollars to start this nonprofit organization called OpenAI. AI was developing a really, really quick pace, and they wanted a nonprofit to be at the forefront of that development to make sure that it was developed in a safe way. So, so they said at some point in the next, you know, five years, 15 years, 50 years, we’re going to reach a point where artificial intelligence is as intelligent as human intelligence, and that is fundamentally a really dangerous position for the world to be. Like, think Terminator Two type destruction.”

Alexi Mostrous

The most striking product that OpenAI has created is ChatGPT, an AI-powered chatbot which can create a response to whatever you ask it…

“The question isn’t what can it do? It’s like, what can’t it do? Because  it can code for you. It can write an essay, it can mark an essay, it can write a screenplay, a comedy sketch, a poem. It’s pretty impressive. You can ask it very, very detailed things like write a poem about a horse in the style of William Shakespeare and like within two seconds you’ve got a sonnet about a horse. It’s pretty, pretty mad.”

Alex Mostrous

It’s so good that just over a week after launching, ChatGPT had more than a million regular users… and it began to get the likes of Microsoft and Google worried.


“Artificial Intelligence has been around for years now…”

Chat Bot SFX

… But the technology that OpenAI has been developing is leagues ahead of anything we’ve seen before.

“The key difference between the products that Open AI are producing and current or mainstream AI that you might see in products like Siri  is that it’s on a different scale in terms of intelligence and, and data points. So ChatGPT uses an exponentially greater number of data points to create the answers that it’s producing. So it’s a real step change in sophistication. It’s just like comparing a remote control car that you might give to a three year old with a Ferrari.”

Alexi Mostrous

ChatGPT could replace traditional search engines, which is why Google executives have issued a ‘code red’ for the company…

“Google is pretty terrified of all. because Google search has been so dominant for years and years and years, and suddenly this AI has come along that could pose a real threat. So what we’re gonna see from Google is that they’ve got their own technology to rival open AI’s technology, but they haven’t really been releasing it very fast until now. But now they’re under huge pressure to get those AI products outta the door. So in the next 18 months, you’re gonna. All the major big tech companies, I think pushing out AI based products.”

Alexi Mostrous

When we asked ChatGPT if it would replace Google search, it replied with this message:

“Chatbots often rely on search engines. So while they may provide a useful service, they are not a threat to search engines like Google.”

Chat Bot SFX

However, one of its creators, Sam Altman, disagreed…

“With the quality of of language models we’ll see in the coming years you know there will be like a serious challenge to Google for the first time for for a search product.”

Sam Altman

Microsoft has jumped at the opportunity to capitalise on OpenAIs technology and sees it as a chance to overtake its rival, Google. In 2019 the company invested $1 billion in OpenAI. Then in January of this year, Microsoft announced another $10 billion of investment. A clear sign that OpenAI’s technology is headed for big things.

So could a world where machines do the jobs of humans be closer than we think?


Artificial Intelligence is already transforming the way we live and work but OpenAI’s supporters say it could be a force for good: 

“Doctors or nurses that they spent 40 to 60 percent of their working hours for documentation then I mean this we want to direct to the machine so that they have more times with the patients you see if we only use it for rationalisation that they then later on I mean twice as many patients.”

DW News

Here’s Alexi Mostrous again…

“I think everyone knows that AI, and especially AI of the sort that you’ve seen in ChatGPT is gonna have an enormous, massive, huge effect on how we work. Thousands, millions of people are going to lose their jobs because of AI, and almost equal numbers are gonna gain jobs because of the opportunities that AI might create. But there’s no doubt that there’s going to be a massive shift because of AI technology. What is unclear at the moment is what sort of jobs will be replaced. So the ones most at risk are the sort of low level jobs. So let’s say you are a 22 year old copywriter for an advertising agency like that job gone.”

Alexi Mostrous

Companies like OpenAI are all too aware of what could happen if humans lose control of the technology. Here’s OpenAI founder Sam Altman again:

“The alignment problem is like we’re going to make this incredibly powerful system and like be really bad if it doesn’t do what we want or or if it sort of has you know goals that are either in conflict with ours and many Sci-Fi movies about what happens there or goals where it just like doesn’t care about us that much and so the alignment problem is how do we build AGI that that does what is in the best interest of humanity.”

Sam Altman

Advanced artificial intelligence being developed by companies like OpenAI needs to be handled carefully if it’s going to enhance our lives rather than take over them.

This episode was written and mixed by Rebecca Moore.