Big Tech Has Big Generative AI Plans

artificial intelligence

The world’s biggest tech companies are moving their artificial intelligence (AI) experiments to center stage.

This, as the technology itself evolves beyond automating simple tasks within walled gardens to augmenting intelligence across open-ended and often complex contextual scenarios.

Companies including Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and other tech giants have long used proprietary AI tools to support both front-end and back-end business processes, helping deliver users personalized content and frictionless experiences while enjoying operational and cost efficiencies.

They are now bringing those tools to the forefront of their business, rather than leaving them toiling away in the shadows.

Google’s entire search program relies on its proprietary AI solution RankBrain, and a vast array of other businesses both large and small, legacy and emergent, leverage AI technology’s applications for their own hero products — even unexpected ones like John Deere.

But the rise of ChatGPT was a shot sent across the bow of the tech industry in particular, and many of the sector’s biggest leaders are now rushing to bring their own tools to market in order to hold on to their aura of innovation and continue to attract top talent.

Still, the next generation of AI isn’t without its pitfalls, as playing fast and loose with the emergent and intelligent technology can frequently result in the spread of misinformation and toxic content.

A Growing War Over the Commercial Potential of Generative AI

In order to keep up with competition, tech companies are going on the offensive to emphasize how they are making the use of AI a priority.

“In the short term, we’ll focus on building creative and expressive tools,” Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a public post this week (Feb. 27). “Over the longer term, we’ll focus on developing AI personas that can help people in a variety of ways.”

Meta, which owns the social media platforms Instagram and Facebook, as well as messaging app WhatsApp among others, is centralizing staff who are working on the AI technology from across the company to achieve faster breakthroughs that it can apply to different products.

Meta’s AI strategy is designed to have “more relevant content recommended by our AI systems,” Zuckerberg said, rather than the existing model where people “follow” accounts. The company told investors on its most recent earnings call it will leverage AI in the short-term to improve ad-targeting and user engagement with its short-form video product Reels, a TikTok competitor.

“We have a lot of foundational work to do before getting to the really futuristic experiences,” Zuckerberg said, “but I’m excited about all of the new things we’ll build along the way.”

As reported by PYMNTS, the company released one of its large language models, LLaMA, under an open source license last Friday (Feb. 24)

The company’s organizational changes around its AI research and development are meant to allow for the models its researchers create to be integrated more quickly across all of Meta’s different products, even its money-losing metaverse strategy.

Meta has been doing a lot of research in the AI space, but has been notably more cautious than its competitors Microsoft and Google in putting such technologies into products. Meta’s own Galactica AI bot, designed to help scientists, lasted just three days online before being removed for sharing biased and incorrect results.

The Long Shadow Cast by ChatGPT

As reported by PYMNTS, Google is investing around $300 million in artificial intelligence firm Anthropic, with the Google CEO Sundar Pichai saying that “[AI] is a powerful enabler for businesses and organizations of all sizes.”

A longtime leader in AI, Google is believed by industry observers to have been feeling the heat of Microsoft’s leapfrog advancements in commercializing the field through its buzzy, if flawed, chatbot — although few believe Microsoft can compete with Google’s datasets, payments tools, and search dominance.

Microsoft, whose advances in deploying the future-fit AI technology across its software suit have in part spurred the recent tit-for-tat developments between tech giants, is for now pulling back on its own generative artificial intelligence-powered chatbot after the AI solution made headlines for all the wrong reasons and was described by a New York Times reporter as “a moody, manic-depressive teenager who has been trapped, against its will, inside a second-rate search engine.”

eCommerce giant Amazon has long used AI tools to help show customers relevant products and media, provide dynamic pricing, as well as to streamline the experience of shopping across its mammoth online platform among other uses.

AI is also leveraged across the company’s warehouses to drive efficiencies, and the tech giant has recently come under scrutiny for using its ‘Netradyne’ AI system to reportedly track delivery drivers’ every move.

Social media platform Snap is also getting into the mix and rolling out an AI-powered chatbot, as reported by PYMNTS.

As businesses in a number of sectors continue to grapple with the best way to use AI technology, it’s important to remember that this is just the beginning — AI certainly isn’t going anywhere, and it still has a long way to go.