Google co-founder Sergey Brin returns to the company after four years to help with efforts to expedite artificial intelligence (AI)—even filing a code request.
- Alphabet reportedly has shifted its LamBDA AI team to work on its own chatbot called Apprentice Bird, although it is unclear how the product will be used in Google’s proprietary products yet, CNBC reports.
- The company is also reportedly rushing its Atlas cloud unit to help the company build its own alternative and create a response to Microsoft’s plans.
- Other units are working on peripheral projects as well, such as desktop design projects that will coincide with Google’s new software once it is ready.
- The news comes just as OpenAI announced its plans on Wednesday for a subscription service for access to ChatGPT—ChatGPT Plus.
- For $20 per month, the service opens up the availability of the service to more people and grants priority access to the software’s new features when implemented.
- The situation has become desperate enough that Google cofounder Sergey Brin returned to coding for the first time in years on January 24 and began directly working with the LamBDA team, Forbes reports.
Why It’s Important
As we previously reported, Alphabet is rushing to play catch-up following news about Microsoft’s plans to implement the ChatGPT artificial intelligence software into its products. The company has fallen behind its competitors and needs to introduce its own AI chatbot and find creative ways to implement it into its products.
Even post tech layoffs, Google is a very large company that makes its decisions slowly and deliberately. This has put the company at something of a disadvantage. ChatGPT was created by a San Francisco startup company, which has the benefit of being able to make quick decisions and make unilateral decisions with less oversight.
As Google’s AI chief Jeff Dean recently told employees, the company has more “reputational risk” than a startup company. It needs to move “more conservatively,” even as a noted leader in AI research. Google is doing much of internal assessments, asking for feedback from employees, holding staff meetings, and soliciting ideas, CNBC reports.
The fact that the company’s absentee cofounders have been called back in is telling how rushed the company feels to deliver. Sergey Brin and Larry Page have reportedly let the company run independently of their supervision for the past four years—only to be called in to assist with the company’s AI strategy, Forbes notes.
“We have long been focused on developing and deploying AI to improve people’s lives. We believe that AI is a foundational and transformative technology that is incredibly useful for individuals, businesses, and communities, and as our AI Principles outline, we need to consider the broader societal impacts these innovations can have. We continue to test our AI technology internally to make sure it’s helpful and safe, and we look forward to sharing more experiences externally soon,” a Google spokesman told CNBC.