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Microsoft Has Been Secretly Testing Its Bing Chatbot 'Sydney' For Years

samedi 25 février 2023, 02:25 , par Slashdot
According to The Verge, Microsoft has been secretly testing its Sydney chatbot for several years after making a big bet on bots in 2016. From the report: Sydney is a codename for a chatbot that has been responding to some Bing users since late 2020. The user experience was very similar to what launched publicly earlier this month, with a blue Cortana-like orb appearing in a chatbot interface on Bing. 'Sydney is an old codename for a chat feature based on earlier models that we began testing in India in late 2020,' says Caitlin Roulston, director of communications at Microsoft, in a statement to The Verge. 'The insights we gathered as part of that have helped to inform our work with the new Bing preview. We continue to tune our techniques and are working on more advanced models to incorporate the learnings and feedback so that we can deliver the best user experience possible.'

'This is an experimental AI-powered Chat on,' read a disclaimer inside the 2021 interface that was added before an early version of Sydney would start replying to users. Some Bing users in India and China spotted the Sydney bot in the first half of 2021 before others noticed it would identify itself as Sydney in late 2021. All of this was years after Microsoft started testing basic chatbots in Bing in 2017. The initial Bing bots used AI techniques that Microsoft had been using in Office and Bing for years and machine reading comprehension that isn't as powerful as what exists in OpenAI's GPT models today. These bots were created in 2017 in a broad Microsoft effort to move its Bing search engine to a more conversational model.

Microsoft made several improvements to its Bing bots between 2017 and 2021, including moving away from individual bots for websites and toward the idea of a single AI-powered bot, Sydney, that would answer general queries on Bing. Sources familiar with Microsoft's early Bing chatbot work tell The Verge that the initial iterations of Sydney had far less personality until late last year. OpenAI shared its next-generation GPT model with Microsoft last summer, described by Jordi Ribas, Microsoft's head of search and AI, as 'game-changing.' While Microsoft had been working toward its dream of conversational search for more than six years, sources say this new large language model was the breakthrough the company needed to bring all of its its Sydney learnings to the masses. Microsoft hasn't yet detailed the full history of Sydney, but Ribas did acknowledge its new Bing AI is 'the culmination of many years of work by the Bing team' that involves 'other innovations' that the Bing team will detail in future blog posts.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.
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