OpenAI warned Microsoft early this year about rushing the integration of GPT-4 into Bing without further training, according to The Wall Street Journal. Although Microsoft forged ahead anyway, the alert proved prescient as early users noticed “unhinged” behavior in the Bing AI tool. (The most memorable examples included arguing, plotting ways to break out of its restrictions and trying to convince a New York Times tech columnist to leave his marriage and elope with Bing instead.) In addition, the new report details “conflict and confusion” behind the curtains of the companies’ convenient but potentially fragile alliance.
Rather than buying OpenAI outright, Microsoft invested in a 49-percent stake in the artificial intelligence startup, a strategy designed to help it avoid antitrust scrutiny. The arrangement gave Microsoft early access to OpenAI’s ChatGPT and DALL-E 2 to boost its Bing search engine. In addition, it’s adding OpenAI-powered CoPilot to Office and other software products as rival Google scrambles to catch up. Meanwhile, OpenAI gets the financial investment and Microsoft’s servers for hosting.
The WSJ describes the arrangement as an “open relationship” where Microsoft maintains significant influence without complete control. For example, although the agreement limits OpenAI’s search-engine customers, it’s still free to work with Microsoft’s rivals. That can place the two companies in precarious situations like their sales teams making overlapping pitches to the same customers. In addition, Microsoft employees have reportedly complained about diminished in-house AI spending and a lack of direct access to OpenAI’s models for its researchers and engineers.
Microsoft employees were also reportedly surprised at how quickly OpenAI launched ChatGPT. The startup opened its chatbot to the public last November on its way to setting the record for the fastest-growing app user base. Microsoft didn’t launch Bing GPT integration until February — after ChatGPT was already well on its way to becoming a household name.
Even with Bing’s shaky AI launch, it’s hard to argue Microsoft hasn’t benefited immensely from the partnership. The search engine saw an early 15-percent traffic boost after adding GPT integration, while the Bing mobile app was downloaded 750,000 times, including a peak of 150,000 daily installs, during its first week. The fact that Bing has become a buzzed-about product — after years of being mocked as Google’s also-ran competitor — is quite an accomplishment in itself. “When we grow, it helps [OpenAI], and when they grow, it helps us,” Microsoft CFO Amy Hood said in April.
Still, some analysts view the partnership as potentially problematic over time. “What puts them in more of a collision course is both sides need to make money,” said Oren Etzioni, board member and CEO of the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence. “The conflict is they’ll both be trying to make money with similar products.”
This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/openai-reportedly-warned-microsoft-about-rushing-gpt-4-integration-into-bing-182044458.html?src=rss