Sridhar Ramaswamy, who led Google’s advertising division from 2013 to 2018, said Microsoft and Google recognized that their current search business might not survive. “The wall of ads and sea of blue links is a thing of the past,” said Mr. Ramaswamy, who now runs Neeva, a subscription-based search engine.
Amazon, which has a larger share of the cloud market than Microsoft and Google combined, has not been as public in its chatbot pursuit as the other two, though it has been working on A.I. technology for years.
But in January, Andy Jassy, Amazon’s chief executive, corresponded with Mr. Delangue of Hugging Face, and weeks later Amazon expanded a partnership to make it easier to offer Hugging Face’s software to customers.
As that underlying tech, known as generative A.I., becomes more widely available, it could fuel new ideas in e-commerce. Late last year, Manish Chandra, the chief executive of Poshmark, a popular online secondhand store, found himself daydreaming during a long flight from India about chatbots building profiles of people’s tastes, then recommending and buying clothes or electronics. He imagined grocers instantly fulfilling orders for a recipe.
“It becomes your mini-Amazon,” said Mr. Chandra, who has made integrating generative A.I. into Poshmark one of the company’s top priorities over the next three years. “That layer is going to be very powerful and disruptive and start almost a new layer of retail.”
But generative A.I is causing other headaches. In early December, users of Stack Overflow, a popular social network for computer programmers, began posting substandard coding advice written by ChatGPT. Moderators quickly banned A.I.-generated text.
Part of the problem was that people could post this questionable content far faster than they could write posts on their own, said Dennis Soemers, a moderator for the site. “Content generated by ChatGPT looks trustworthy and professional, but often isn’t,” he said.