Some Googlers' performance reviews could be weighed in part by their work in generative AI
- Google will weigh AI contributions in some employees' performance reviews, Bloomberg reported.
- The move comes as Google races to compete in the nascent space of conversational AI.
Google could begin weighing some employees' performance reviews based in part on their contributions related to generative AI, according to current and former employees who spoke to Bloomberg.
Although Google has long been a leader in AI and built much of the foundational technology that made generative AI possible, the company has found itself on its back foot. Microsoft-backed OpenAI has garnered much attention for its ChatGPT chatbot, which can respond to questions with human-like responses. The product is being integrated into Microsoft's Bing search, potentially upending the search model entirely.
Google quickly responded by unveiling its own bot Bard, and CEO Sundar Pichai has said the company plans to release more products based on generative AI in the coming year. The company recently asked all employees to spend 2-4 hours helping submit feedback to improve the bot's answers.
Employees who spoke to Bloomberg say that the new directive reminds them of the Google+ days, when the company tried integrating its own social network into its suite of products, and the company rallied employees to contribute.
Google did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Like Google, other tech companies have pivoted to a stronger AI focus of late. Meta recently announced LLaMA, its own large language model akin to ChatGPT or Bard. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the model is geared towards researchers for now, but it could potentially find its way into products like Instagram. Salesforce announced this week that it will bring ChatGPT to Slack so that users can do things like generate summaries of long conversations or better search through channels.
One current Googler, who spoke on condition of anonymity to Insider because they're not authorized to speak to press, said the company has much of the technology it needs to succeed in generative AI, but an increasingly bureaucratic culture has led many engineers to leave for other companies where they can build new technology faster. The employee added that many employees focus on simply maintaining existing products like Search that are already dominant.
Microsoft's investment in OpenAI has lit a fire under Google, the employee said, as it fears others will leave the company with new innovations. The company is encouraging employees to try anything with generative AI, they added.
Chatbots are still largely unproven as they remain in beta and have been shown to display strange behavior, and provide answers to questions that are incorrect. It remains to be seen whether generative AI will change the way consumers search for information online.
Got a tip about Google? You can reach Thomas via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, Signal at 540.955.7134, or Twitter at @tomaxwell.
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