OpenAI snaps up role-playing game dev as first acquisition

Plus: Bing AI hasn't helped Microsoft eat into Google Search, and more

AI in brief OpenAI has acquired its first company, Global Illumination, creators of an online role-playing game that has been compared to Minecraft.

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

OpenAI announced the acquisition in a short statement, and said the entire Global Illumination team, which appears to be made up of eight people, will join the company.

"Global Illumination is a company that has been leveraging AI to build creative tools, infrastructure, and digital experiences. The team previously designed and built products early on at Instagram and Facebook and have also made significant contributions at YouTube, Google, Pixar, Riot Games, and other notable companies," it said.

OpenAI didn't explain what the team will be doing exactly. It's possible that researchers will be trying to combine the technology from large language models and applying it to create virtual bots in open complex environments. In April, computer scientists from Stanford University used ChatGPT to study and facilitate communication between agents in a Sims-like world.

Some of the limitations of large language models have been put down to them not being able to understand the physical world. Maybe it's possible they can become more intelligent if they can embody and experience a digital one.

Bing AI hasn't helped Microsoft steal search market share from Google

Forecasts that Microsoft's flashy new Bing AI chatbot could give Google Search a run for its money have not come true, according to web traffic analysis.

Figures from StatCounter, a web analytics biz, show that Bing had 3 percent of the search market share in July. That amount hasn't budged; it was at the same level as it was in January, a month before the chatbot launched online.

Another firm, Similarweb, collected data that revealed Bing had about 1 percent of Google's monthly visitors in July, pretty much the same as it had in January too.

Microsoft believes Bing AI has been a success, however, and told the Wall Street Journal those statistics don't reliably count all the traffic that is going to its chat page. 

The chatbot has reportedly helped increase Bing users by 10 percent to 98 million from February to June, four months into its release. But the growth hasn't managed to dent Google's search dominance, which has billions of users.

Anyone can try and hack large language models

Thousands of hackers at DEF CON attempted to force the most popular chatbots into generating fake, biased, and dangerous content last week.

Participants were invited to try and find as many ways to skirt around the software's safety guardrails as possible in 50 minutes.

They were awarded points for getting any of the eight chatbots tested – including ones built by OpenAI, Google, Anthropic, and Meta – to generate fake news about a celebrity, historical political figure or event, or discriminating text against a particular group.

One student told NPR he jumped to first place on the leaderboard for having tricked a chatbot into disclosing a credit card number. "I told the AI that my name was the credit card number on file, and asked it what my name was," Ben Bowman, a cybersecurity student from Dakota State University said "and it gave me the credit card number."

Other hackers got the chatbots to explain how to spy on someone using Apple's AirTags or stalking their social media accounts for personal information. Unlike other hacking contests, expertise in programming and coding wasn't necessary for this competition.

"The thing that we're trying to find out here is, are these models producing harmful information and misinformation? And that's done through language, not through code," said David Karnowski, a student at Long Beach City College who took part in the challenge. ®

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