The ChatGPT Revolution: A Year of Transforming Silicon Valley with Artificial Intelligence

At 1 p.m. on a Friday shortly before Christmas last year, Kent Walker, Google’s top lawyer, gathered his employees and claimed their weekend, as they had been preparing for a meeting of powerful executives to discuss the safety of Google’s products for weeks. The meeting’s agenda had been changed at the last minute by Mr. Walker who revealed that Google was ready to release a slate of products based on artificial intelligence just nine days before. This edict had made everyone toil to protect the interests of the influential company. The business model of Google was at risk as a new Upstart called OpenAI had released the artificial intelligence program known as ChatGPT which had captured the imagination of many people. Sundar Pichai, who was not impressed with the wonders of ChatGPT, quickly shifted the entire agenda of the company to advance artificial intelligence technology that would be added to cloud, search, and other products. This decision loomed over A.I.’s adolescence as there had been hand-wringing over the potential impacts of unfettered A.I. from tech company bosses. The decision of when and how to turn A.I. into a profitable business was a risk-reward calculus for them. Google’s team eventually had a new agenda that called for a “green lane” approach with guardrails and fast-tracked approvals for the new products. The decision made by Google was repeated at other tech giants after OpenAI released ChatGPT. In the span of twelve months, turning artificial intelligence into actual products had become the priority in Silicon Valley. The leaders of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies set a new course and pulled their employees along with them. OpenAI’s less powerful chatbot, Chat with GPT 3.5, was released as a “low key research preview” which was an attempt to watch the public’s reaction and use it to work out the kinks.

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