Artificial Intelligence (AI) Breakthrough

What is Generative AI?


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Generative AI

Mains level: AI, Machine Learning

generative ai

Central idea: Google and Microsoft have added generative AI to their search engines and browsers, as well as to consumer products such as Gmail, Docs, Copilot 365, Teams, Outlook, Word, Excel, and more.

What is Generative AI?

  • Like other forms of artificial intelligence, generative AI learns how to take actions from past data.
  • It creates brand new content – a text, an image, even computer code – based on that training, instead of simply categorizing or identifying data like other AI.
  • The most famous generative AI application is ChatGPT, a chatbot that Microsoft-backed OpenAI released late last year.
  • The AI powering it is known as a large language model because it takes in a text prompt and from that writes a human-like response.

Generative AI products offered by Google and Microsoft

generative ai

  • Google and Microsoft have added generative AI to their search engines and browsers, as well as to consumer products such as Gmail, Docs, Copilot 365, Teams, Outlook, Word, Excel, and more.
  • In Google’s Gmail and Docs, generative AI can help users write documents automatically, such as a welcome email for employees.
  • Copilot 365, a feature of Microsoft 365 apps, can generate spreadsheets on command or even write an entire article on Word, depending on the topic.
  • Both companies are making generative AI platforms and models a part of their cloud offerings, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud.

What are Google and Microsoft offering?

  • In Google’s Gmail and Docs, generative AI will help users write documents automatically.
  • For instance, an HR executive can simply ask the AI app to write a welcome email for employees, instead of typing out the document.
  • Similarly, Microsoft has ‘Copilot 365’ for its Microsoft 365 apps, which includes Teams, Outlook, Word and Excel.
  • Here, AI could generate a spreadsheet on command, or even write down an entire article on Word (depending on the topic).
  • Copilot can also match entries on Calendar with emails, and generate quick, helpful pointers that a person should focus on in their meetings.

How can these developments impact human workforce?

  • The technology is currently not very accurate and often provides incorrect responses, despite being popular.
  • During the initial demonstrations of these products, Google and Microsoft were found to give inaccurate responses.
  • While these products may have utility, they are not yet capable of replacing humans in the workplace.
  • Humans are better suited to check information generated by AI.

Various challenges posed

  • Bias: The data that is used to train generative AI systems can be biased, leading to biased outputs.
  • Misinformation: Since generative AI systems learn from the internet or training data which itself may have been inaccurate, they could increase the spread of misinformation online.
  • Security: Generative AI systems could be used to create deepfakes or other forms of digital manipulation that could be used to spread disinformation or commit fraud.
  • Ethics: There are ethical concerns around the use of generative AI, particularly when it comes to issues like privacy, accountability, and transparency.
  • Regulation: There is a need for regulatory frameworks to ensure that generative AI is used responsibly and ethically, and that it does not have any negative impacts on society.


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