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Dhaka Tribune

Is the ChatGPT hype over?

It never happens instantly. As Google has been demonstrating, the business game is longer than you know

Update : 06 Sep 2023, 04:19 PM

When generative AI products started rolling out to the general public last year, it kicked off a frenzy of excitement and fear.

People were amazed at the images and words these tools could create from just a single text prompt.

Silicon Valley salivated over the prospect of a transformative new technology, one that it could make a lot of money off of after years of stagnation and the flops of crypto and the metaverse.

And then there were the concerns about what the world would be after generative AI transformed it. Millions of jobs could be lost.

It might become impossible to tell what was real or what was made by a computer. And if you want to get really dramatic about it, the end of humanity may be near.

Several months later, the bloom is coming off the AI-generated rose, according to recent Vox and Medium analyses.

Governments are ramping up efforts to regulate the technology, creators are suing over alleged intellectual property and copyright violations, people are balking at the privacy invasions (both real and perceived) that these products enable, and there are plenty of reasons to question how accurate AI-powered chatbots really are and how much people should depend on them.

Recent reports suggest that consumers are starting to lose interest: The new AI-powered Bing search hasn’t made a dent in Google’s market share, ChatGPT is losing users for the first time, and the bots are still prone to basic errors that make them impossible to trust.

In some cases, they may be even less accurate now than they were before. A recent Pew survey found that only 18% of US adults had ever used ChatGPT, and another said they’re becoming increasingly concerned about the use of AI.

Party over for this party trick?

Generative AI is a powerful technology that isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and the chatbots built with this new technology are one of the most accessible tools for consumers, who can directly access and try them out for themselves.

But recent reports suggest that, as the initial burst of excitement and curiosity fades, people may not be as into chatbots as many expected.

OpenAI and its ChatGPT chatbot quickly took the lead as the buzziest generative AI company and tool out there, no doubt helped along by being one of the first companies to release tools to the general public, as well as a partnership with Microsoft worth billions of dollars.

There was plenty of hype, and Bing suddenly went from being a punchline to a potential rival in a market so completely dominated by Google that it’s literally synonymous with it.

Google rushed to release a chatbot of its own, called Bard. 

Meta, not to be outdone and possibly still smarting from its disastrous metaverse pivot, released not one but two open source(ish) versions of its large language model.

OpenAI licensed ChatGPT out to other companies, and dozens lined up to put it in their own products.

Meanwhile, OpenAI’s ChatGPT seems to be flagging, too. For the first time since its release last year, traffic to the ChatGPT website fell by almost 10 percent in June, according to the Washington Post.

Google’s approach may be the right one, given how problematic some of these chatbots can be. We now have myriad examples of chatbots going off the rails, from getting really personal with a user to spouting off complete inaccuracies as truth to containing the inherent biases that seem to permeate all of tech.

Generative AI can do some amazing things. There’s a reason why Silicon Valley is excited about it and so many people have tried it out. What remains to be seen is whether it can be more than a party trick, which, given its still-prevalent flaws, is probably all it should be for now.

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