Sparrow, Google’s answer to ChatGPT

Sparrow, Google's answer to ChatGPT

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a tech topic get so much attention. In a few weeks, ChatGPT will have totally eclipsed the metaverse, Elon Musk and NFTs in the specialized press.

The opening of this type of technology to the general public follows the usual steps: first, everyone is enchanted by its potential. Then, we point the finger at illegitimate uses; and we become a little disenchanted when we see our limits. But in the future, it is likely that many professionals and individuals will use tools based on GPT-3, then GPT-4 or other assimilated models.

OpenAI technology worries Google executives

Despite its intrinsic limits, ChatGPT today constitutes a formidable playground. this technology. According to the New York Times, fears are such that Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the two co-founders of Google, have reinvested the premises to adjust the company’s strategy related to artificial intelligence. A remarkable return to business, initiated by Sundar Pichai himself.

The New York Times article states that this year, Google intends to unveil 20 products based on artificial intelligence. The annual Google I/O conference, which will take place in May 2023, could be an opportunity to discover some of these technologies. We talk about an image generation tool, projects around augmented shopping, video creation, but also professional software to help developers design Android applications.

Sparrow, the chatbot from DeepMind that looks like ChatGPT

ChatGPT could overshadow Google because the tool makes it possible to partially achieve what a search engine offers: access to information, structured, based on queries formulated by the Internet user in natural language. And when you see the billions injected by Microsoft into OpenAI, you can see the risks for the Mountain View firm…

A chatbot named Sparrow

One of Google’s answers could lie in the development of a chatbot, named Sparrow, being developed by DeepMind, the artificial intelligence subsidiary of Google’s parent company – known for AlphaGo, the computer program who beat Lee Sedol at the game of Go, or even AlphaCode, a technology capable of writing computer code.

Last September, the company published its research on the Sparrow project. Without going into technical details, let’s say that it’s a chatbot that works a bit like ChatGPT, in the sense that the machine learns from interactions with humans in order to improve the results offered.

Sparrow’s model evolves with user responses © DeepMind

A private beta of Sparrow in 2023

In an interview, the CEO and co-founder of DeepMind, Demis Hassabis, indicates that Sparrow should arrive in private beta in 2023. Too slow a response to ChatGPT? Between the lines, we see above all the prudence of the leader on these subjects, in the face of the consequences that technologies based on artificial intelligence could have. Via a tool like ChatGPT or Sparrow, we think of misinformation, censorship, the circulation of stereotypes or hateful remarks. DeepMind thus finds itself in a delicate situation: that of accelerating its response to ChatGPT via Sparrow, while limiting the biases and risks associated with AI. Quite a challenge, which is now one of Google’s priorities.

The differences between Sparrow and ChatGPT

Sparrow should differ from ChatGPT on several points. In the screenshot at the top of the article, taken from documents published by DeepMind, we note in particular the indication of the sources used by the artificial intelligence. This is a key point for at least two reasons: it allows users to explore this content to go further, to verify the veracity of the information, its correct interpretation; and this could allow Google to offer a fair attribution to the authors of the content.

The search engine has been displaying enriched and structured results for many years, at the top of the results, to give a direct answer to the Internet user. This has always been a sensitive subject because Google is regularly accused of appropriating the content of the sites it references. It started with simple answers; but it is clear that the results formatted in this way are more and more complete, even for complex queries. The integration of the sites used in Sparrow could thus make it possible to spare publishers, who could be strongly impacted if this type of service gains in popularity, while providing an appropriate and sourced response to users.

Also, one of the limits of the current version of ChatGPT lies in the age of its data – which stops in 2021. Google is above all a tool that crawls and indexes content. The freshness of the data could thus constitute a decisive advantage in the fight to come in this sector.