Looks like big tech majors are betting on fresh monikers for LLM chatbots, moving away from giving their chatbots human-like names such as Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, to more non-human (read: boring) names.
“ChatGPT is a lot worse,” quipped OpenAI chief Sam Altman in response to a post on X that labeled Apple’s Vision Pro as the worst name given to tech.
Altman, previously mentioned that they intentionally gave a bland name to ChatGPT to clearly indicate its AI nature, thus preserving the uniqueness of human-to-human interactions. This approach aims to avoid creating an overly humanized AI, like in the movie ‘Her’. In contrast, OpenAI’s GPT Store is filled with AI girlfriends.
“We named it ChatGPT and not a person’s name intentionally. We do a bunch of subtle things in the way you use it to make it clear that you’re not talking to a person,” he revealed in a recent interview.
“I personally have deep misgivings about this vision of the future where everyone is super close to AI friends, not more so with human friends or whatever. I personally don’t want that,” he added.
Why did Google rename Bard to Gemini?
Search giant Google recently made the bold move of rebranding its generative AI chatbot Bard to Gemini. The decision received mixed reactions from the tech community.
“Bard was the most direct way people could interact with our models. It made sense to just evolve it to be Gemini, because you’re actually talking directly to the underlying Gemini model when you use it,” said Google chief Sundar Pichai in a recent interview.
Pichai further added, “I think it will also be the way through which we will keep advancing our models and users can experience it directly. So, we thought the name change made sense,” he added.
Google would have certainly mulled hard over renaming Bard, considering that people recognise it much more than Gemini. However unlike Bard, Gemini is a more gender-neutral name and does not stereotype AI assistants as females, as is the case with Siri, Alexa, and Cortana.
Interestingly, Google chose the name Bard for its AI chatbot to highlight its creative and storytelling capabilities. The term “Bard” traditionally denotes a poet or storyteller, and a notable historical figure associated with this title is William Shakespeare, often referred to as the Bard of Avon.
Some see Bard as adding a more personal touch, while others anticipate that this rebranding will enable Google to shed the negative publicity associated with the previous version, paving the way for a ‘new era of Gemini’.
“Gemini sounds like a space programme – futuristic, a leap for mankind. It’s got all the right emotional associations. It’s a constellation, it’s out in space, and it’s made of stars. Plus, the name has a ‘gem’ in it, which feels fancy, valuable, and refined,” wrote a user on Hacker News.
“I’m not saying Gemini is the best name I’ve heard, not even close to it, but it feels 100% appropriate, in a way that Bard does not,” the user added.
“Gemini is such a boring name for an AI (better than GPT, but not much). Bard was a much more interesting jumping off point. They could have continued with character classes (Paladin, Sorcerer), or gone with realistic bardic inspiration (Skald, Poet). Why can’t anyone name AI [well]?” wrote Ethan Mollick, a professor at Wharton, expressing his dissatisfaction with the rebranding of Bard.
Last month, Jeff Dean, chief scientist at Google DeepMind, shed light on the nomenclature. The name ‘Gemini’, derived from Latin for ‘twins’, symbolically represents both Google Brain and DeepMind. In April 2023, Alphabet announced the merger of these two AI units, creating Google DeepMind.
“The Gemini effort came about because we had different teams working on language modeling, and we knew we wanted to work together. The twins are the folks in the legacy Brain team (many from the PaLM/PaLM-2 effort) and the legacy DeepMind team (many from the Chinchilla effort) that started to work together on the ambitious multimodal model project we called Gemini, eventually joined by many people from all across Google,” wrote Dean.
What about Microsoft’s Bing Chat Rebranding?
Similarly, a few months ago, Microsoft, much like Google, renamed Bing Chat to Copilot. Microsoft said it did so to make AI-powered web chat more accessible with a simplified user experience at copilot.microsoft.com.
Microsoft has gone all-in on Copilot. Every AI service that the company is providing is named Copilot. The company even introduced a new Copilot key on the keyboard, a first change in nearly three decades.
“This is clearly the age of the Copilot. The renaming of Bing Chat to Copilot is not merely a cosmetic change, it represents a commitment to creating a more dynamic and responsive search platform, catering to the evolving expectations of users worldwide,” said Microsoft chief Satya Nadella during the 2023 Microsoft Ignite.
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