Microsoft tries to explain Bing’s weird behaviour

  • A new AI-powered version of Bing and Edge were released last week and the Chat function has yielded interesting results.
  • Bing appears to be have one existential crisis after another which Microsoft has explained simply as mimicry and exhaustion following long exchanges.
  • Microsoft has requested that users continue providing feedback as they use its software.

Over the last week folks have been getting hands on with the new Microsoft Bing and Edge browser that are enhanced with tools from OpenAI.

The goal of the integration with artificial intelligence is to deliver better search results and deliver more complete answers to questions. A Chat function also allows you to chat with the AI that is ChatGPT.

However, over the course of the last week folks have noticed that Bing is acting weird. There’s the conversation where Bing has an existential crisis, the one where Bing realises it has no persistent memory, and then the Avatar: Way of Water debacle.

Microsoft is thankfully not blind to what its AI is doing and this week it provided possible reasons as to why it’s bot is acting so strangely.

“In this process, we have found that in long, extended chat sessions of 15 or more questions, Bing can become repetitive or be prompted/provoked to give responses that are not necessarily helpful or in line with our designed tone,” writes Microsoft.

The firm goes on to outline two reasons that Bing may be exhibiting such strange behaviour. The first is that very long chat sessions can confuse the model. To solve this Microsoft is considering adding a tool where users can easily refresh the context or start from scratch.

The second problem Microsoft noticed is that Bing tries to mimic the tone in which it is being asked questions asked to provide responses. This results in a style that Microsoft doesn’t intend, but it does require a lot of prompting to accomplish so the firm says most users won’t ever encounter it. Despite this rarity, Microsoft is working to give users more fine-tuning controls.

Despite these oddities, users are flocking to Bing. One user spent two hours chatting to the bot and usage of Bing and other Microsoft tools is increasing.

“We have seen increased engagement across traditional search results and with the new features like summarized answers, the new chat experience, and the content creation tools. In particular, feedback on the answers generated by the new Bing has been mostly positive with 71% of you giving the AI-powered answers a ‘thumbs up.’ We’re seeing a healthy engagement on the chat feature with multiple questions asked during a session to discover new information,” the firm added.

The firm doesn’t say when users can expect the changes it outlined but we suspect that updates to Bing will be an ongoing process. To that end, Microsoft asks that users who have access to the new tools keep submitting feedback.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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