Microsoft Was Secretly Testing Its New Bing Chatbot ‘Sydney’ for Years

UTC by Mayowa Adebajo · 3 min read
Microsoft Was Secretly Testing Its New Bing Chatbot ‘Sydney’ for Years
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Microsoft has a history of at least six years with bots.

New details have emerged that Microsoft had been testing a chatbot named Sydney since as far back as 2021. According to a Coinspeaker report, the tech giant only announced the ChatGPT-powered Bing earlier this month. However, it had been working on the concept for quite some time now, per The Verge.

Microsoft has a history of at least six years with bots. But Sydney only made its first appearance in 2021. That was when Microsoft began publicly testing its Sydney chatbot inside Bing in a selected few countries throughout the year. Nonetheless, the story behind Sydney is an interesting one, especially because of its relationship with the new Bing.

Microsoft Aims at Unified Bot Approach with ‘Sydney’

As earlier noted, Microsoft worked on several other chatbots between 2017 and 2021. But each of those bots was originally designed for different websites and services. Initially, the Bing bots used Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques and Machine Learning (ML) comprehension that isn’t quite as effective as what is obtainable with OpenAI’s GPT models today.

However,  as part of its broader efforts to move its Bing search engine to a more conversational model, Microsoft has now made several improvements to its Bing bots. The most notable improvement is the transition from individual bots for websites to the concept of a single AI-powered bot, Sydney.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that Microsoft’s new approach to bots and search was inspired by a demonstration made by OpenAI. That was in the summer of last year. According to Jordi Ribas, Microsoft CVP of Search & AI, the new model by OpenAI opens up the possibility of integrating the GPT capabilities into the Bing search product. About the potential benefits, Ribas said in a LinkedIn post:

“So that we could provide more accurate and complete search results for any query including long, complex, natural queries.”

New Bing Receives Backlash

Meanwhile, the launch of Microsoft’s new Bing has also seen a fair share of criticism. This follows after the search engine’s chat functionality appears to generate rude and somewhat aggressive responses to certain queries. Expectedly, this has caused a lot of uproars, causing Microsoft to take immediate action.

As a result of the criticisms,  Microsoft has placed limitations on the number of chats per session and total chats per day, to five and fifty,  respectively. Although the company also insists that AIs are capable of improving quickly.  Therefore, only time will tell whether Sydney’s comments are only an early glitch or a long-term issue.

Artificial Intelligence, Business News, News, Technology News
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