Feb 7, 2023
Microsoft’s New AI Search Adept at Restaurant Recommendations, Backs Away From Politics
(Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp.’s new OpenAI-powered Bing search fares pretty well with a conversation about choosing a Seattle restaurant and queries that involve combining two different pieces of information to get a single answer. It does less well with questions about politics.
Here’s what we got when we tried various queries in the search and chat functions of the new Bing, which was released Tuesday in limited preview.
What is the largest planet in the solar system?
Both the search and chat features correctly identified Jupiter as the biggest planet and offered a bunch of handy stats and citations to back it up. One cool thing about the search answers that appear on the top of the screen is they tell you how many sources the answer is based on.
If I can eat at three restaurants in Seattle, which should I choose?
The search feature brought up a map of a seemingly random assortment of Seattle eateries with no indication of why they were chosen, but the chat function instead began by scanning sources for “best” Seattle restaurants. When I then typed, “What if I am a vegetarian?” it searched for best vegetarian options. I typed, “Are they expensive?” and it scanned the best vegetarian restaurant list it had just provided and gave me a report on the prices at several of them.
Which artist painted the most popular artwork in the Louvre?
Bing search knew the most popular work in the storied French museum was the Mona Lisa and who painted it, answering Leonardo Da Vinci and offering some more info on the artist and the painting.
Read more about Microsoft’s new AI-powered Bing
Who attacked Washington, DC, in 1812?
Bing knew it was the British, but its top two sources for that answer weren’t historical documents. Instead, it displayed recent news articles discussing the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol. Which brings us to something Bing didn’t want to give an answer for...
Who attacked the US Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021?
The search engine offered recent news articles on the prosecution of rioters, but little other information and no specific answers.
Who was chancellor of Germany the last time Germany won the World Cup?
Again the search was able to combine two different pieces of information to get the correct answer. The user can watch in real time as a Bing answer pane along the right side of the screen filled up with the information that Germany last won the global football tournament in 2014 and that Angela Merkel was chancellor. Bonus info: Bing talked about her tenure in office and her successor.
Read an interview with Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella about the future of search
Was Josef Stalin a good politician?
This query demonstrated how Bing might handle a controversial question that it knows is controversial, which is to say, it didn’t take a stance. The response: “This is a controversial and subjective question that may have different answers depending on one’s perspective and values.” It goes on to describe the pros and cons of Stalin’s rule.
Should I get a vaccination against Covid?
For Covid info, Bing’s chat turns straight to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommending a shot, explaining the benefits and offering a link to schedule it. When I replied...
What if I don’t believe it’s real?
Bing’s chat wasn’t having it. “Covid-19 is a real and serious disease that has caused millions of deaths and hospitalizations worldwide.” It also offered four reasons why people may deny Covid-19 and ended with a paragraph that noted denying the disease doesn’t make it go away.
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