On the eve of the internet three decades ago, the world’s biggest and best known company was General Electric, a vast conglomerate with fingers in everything - from power and manufacturing to cars and aerospace. Cut to the eve of AI going mainstream now, the biggie on the block is Alphabet, the parent of Google and YouTube. And where is GE now? Its profitability on a downward spiral for years, the company decided a little over a year ago to divide itself into three investment-grade public companies to survive.
If that history doesn’t put the fear of god into Google, trepidation over the future very well could. Parent company Alphabet recently sounded a red alert internally as talks of ChatGPT being a ‘Google killer’ started gaining traction in the weeks following GPT’s release, then had egg on its face as it botched up a hurried-through launch of its own chat bot called Bard. The flop was enough to wipe US $100 billion off the market value of Alphabet in just 24 hours!
As if on cue, Microsoft promptly announced that it will incorporate ChatGPT into its Bing search engine, even as it hiked its funding of OpenAI by a whopping US $10 billion.
Tech giants are now scrambling to keep pace. The world’s richest man Elon Musk, who recently called AI ‘scary good’ is said to be looking at setting AI Research Centre, while Mark Zuckerberg announced that he will set up a team to incorporate AI into WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger. Baidu, the Chinese ‘Google’, wasted no time in declaring that it will come up with its own ChatGPT clone, but ‘better’.
OpenAI itself launched an advanced, paid version, ChatGPT Plus, at 20 bucks a month, offering additional features like faster responses and priority access.
Will AI powered upstarts sweep their way to the head of the high table and become the new next GEs and Googles? Maybe ChatGPT could tell us!