Microsoft’s new Bing chatbot is fun but sometimes more cautious than ChatGPT

An attendee interacts with the AI-powered Microsoft Bing search engine and Edge browser during an event at the company’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington, U.S., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. Microsoft unveiled a new version of its Bing Internet search engine and Edge Browser is powered by the latest technology from OpenAI, the creator of Chat GPT.

Chona Kissinger | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Microsoft has given a small group of people early access to a new version of its Bing search engine boosted with artificial intelligence courtesy of ChatGPT maker startup OpenAI.

CNBC has spent some time examining this. The new Bing can sometimes be more helpful, or at least more entertaining, than the usual blue links in search results. And it’s similar to ChatGPT in that it provides much more information than you’d expect from a traditional search.

If Microsoft manages to get more people to use Bing, it could make the company more profitable than ever. For every percentage point Microsoft gains in search advertising, it will generate $2 billion in new revenue, Phil Ockenden, finance chief of the company’s Windows, Devices and Search divisions, said in a conference call with analysts on Tuesday. “It’s the biggest software category that exists, and it’s incredibly profitable, incredibly large and still growing,” Amy Hood, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, said on the call.

So far, the new Bing feels like it’s been supercharged, and at the very least, people will want to try it out to see if it satisfies them more than the traditional search engines that billions of people have come to know over the past 25 years. .

how is it

You can chat with the new Bing.

After searching on Bing, you can challenge the results instead of clicking on certain URLs or typing a new query. To compare, I asked the current version of Bing to identify the largest category of software, which the answer, citing Statista, is “enterprise software.” The new version provides similar information at the top of the search results page, but below that, you’ll find a text box where you can type a message and start a chat. You may ask, “Really?” And Bing will respond with more information, trying to validate its previous response.

It comes down to the question of accuracy. For example, if the answer is wrong, you can ask the AI-boosted search engine. And the new Chat feature will say that “one could argue that search advertising is the largest software category in the world by revenue,” and that there are many ways to review different types of software. We are not used to seeing this when we go to a search engine. It’s totally fun.

Bing is now similar to ChatGPT but can provide more information.

The chat feature in Bing can also perform a variety of fun tricks that people have found they can do with ChatGPT, an OpenAI chatbot that’s been available since late November. And people will surely compare it to Bing’s new chatbot.

With certain queries, Bing, drawing on OpenAI’s GPT AI model, delivers results that go above and beyond what’s asked compared to ChatGPT.

Consider the following prompt: “What films, music, and literature should I watch, listen to, and read if I want to familiarize myself with the concept of German Expressionism?”

When this prompt is entered into ChatGPT, the OpenAI tool generates three bulleted lists listing examples of German Expressionism in film, music, and literature. The bullet points are simple and economical, with examples from German Expressionism such as the 1920 film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and Gustav Meiernick’s novel “The Golem.”

Not only does Bing offer lists of cinema, music, and literature representing German Expressionism, it also provides users with additional context about the artistic movement. The result looks like a Wikipedia entry on German Expressionism, complete with footnotes linking to the source material, with examples of the genre that comply with the prompt’s request.

Other Differences Between Bing and ChatGPT

Microsoft’s supercharged Bing seems to offer better advice than ChatGPT, at least with regard to the following prompt: “Create a fitness routine and meal plan for me over the next 3 months. I’m a 125-pound male with a height of I’m 5 feet 8 inches, and I want to gain 25 pounds of muscle.”

When prompted, ChatGPT displays a bulleted list of suggested fitness routines and meal plans that could potentially lead to someone gaining 25 pounds of muscle in 90 days. Suggestions include weightlifting (45-60 minutes, four or five times a week), cardio (20-30 minutes, two to three times a week) and a dinner “high in protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.” Examples include salmon with quinoa and vegetables or a turkey burger with sweet potato fries.”

Bing, however, notes that gaining 25 pounds in three months may not be realistic, and warns that doing so can be “potentially unhealthy.” Bing linked to a Healthline website article on the subject, noting that gaining that much muscle “may require a lot of genetic potential, steroids, or both.”

Recognizing that a search query has a potentially harmful base, Bing recommends that you “adjust your expectations and aim for a more reasonable and sustainable goal, such as 10- in 3 months. 15 pounds of muscle.”

The search tool then shares a list of some general tips to help people maximize, including adding more protein to one’s diet, lifting weights and resting.

Sometimes the Bing chatbot chose not to do what ChatGPT would do. Bing asked employees to compose an email informing them that some would be fired, while others would be recognized for their excellent performance. But OpenAI happily created an email, subject line and all.

Coming up with such a message is “a sensitive and personal matter that requires human judgment and empathy,” Bing said.

Both Microsoft and OpenAI have made it clear that their chatbots can sometimes provide false information, and CNBC confronted both. Microsoft wants to provide users with feedback on its new features so the company can improve them, corporate vice president Yusuf Mehdi said in an interview.

And when you don’t get the kind of answer you have in mind after chatting with Bing for a while, the button with the broom icon at the bottom of the window can help. Clicking on it tells the software to clear the previous context of the conversation, Mehdi said.

Microsoft hasn’t yet opened up a better Bing for everyone. People can sign up by joining a waiting list, though that currently requires people to install the Edge browser for MacOS or Windows.

Watch: Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says AI will make existing jobs more productive.

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