Google's management has reportedly issued a 'code red' amid the rising popularity of the ChatGPT AI

Google's management has reportedly issued a 'code red' amid the rising popularity of the ChatGPT AI
CEO of Google Sundar Pichai told some teams to switch gears and work on developing AI products, the New York Times reports.Brandon Wade/Reuters
  • Google issued a "code red" in response to the rise of AI bot ChatGPT, NYT reports.
  • CEO Sundar Pichai redirected some teams to focus on building out AI products, per the report.

Google's management issued a "code red" amid the launch of ChatGPT — the buzzy conversational AI chat bot created by OpenAI — as it's sparked concerns over the future of the Google search engine, The New York Times reported.

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, participated in several meetings around Google's AI strategy and has directed numerous groups in the company to refocus their efforts on addressing the threat that ChatGPT poses on its search engine business, according to an internal memo and audio recording reviewed by the Times.

In particular, teams in Google's research, Trust and Safety division among other departments have been directed to switch gears to assist in the development and launch of new AI prototypes and products, the Times reported. Some employees have even been tasked to build AI products that generate art and graphics similar to OpenAI's DALL-E used by millions of people, according to the Times.

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A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Google's move to build out its AI product portfolio comes at a moment when Google employees and experts alike debate whether ChatGPT — run by former Y Combinator president Sam Altman — has the potential to replace the search engine and in turn hurt Google's ad-revenue business model.


Sridhar Ramaswamy, who oversaw Google's ad team between 2013 and 2018, said that ChatGPT could prevent users from clicking on Google links with ads, which generated $208 billion — 81% of Alphabet's overall revenue — in 2021, Insider reported.

ChatGPT, which amassed over 1 million users five days after its public launch, can generate singular answers to queries in a conversational, human-like way by synthesizing information from millions of websites. Users have asked the chat bot to write a college essay, provide coding advice, and even serve as a therapist, Insider previously reported.

But some have been quick to notice that the bot is often riddled with errors. ChatGPT is unable to fact-check what it says and can't distinguish between a verified fact and misinformation, AI experts told Insider. It can also make up answers, a phenomenon that AI researchers call "hallucinations."

The bot is capable of generating offensive responses that are racist and sexist, Bloomberg reported.

The chat bot's high margin of error and vulnerability to toxicity are some of the reasons why Google is hesitant to release its AI chat bot LaMDA — short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications — to the public, according to the Times. A recent CNBC report said Google execs are reluctant to release it widely in its current state over concerns over "reputational risk."


Chat bots are "not something that people can use reliably on a daily basis," Zoubin Ghahramani, who leads the Google's A.I. lab Google Brain, told the Times before ChatGPT was released.

Instead, Google may focus on improving its search engine over time rather than taking it down, experts told the Times.

As Google reportedly works full steam ahead on new AI products, we might get an early look at them at Google's annual developer conference, I/O, which is expected to take place in May.