What Is Microsoft's Bing AI Chatbot?

This machine learning-powered tool goes way beyond search results

Microsoft’s Bing AI chatbot is a feature of the Bing search engine that leverages the same technology as ChatGPT to deliver more useful search results and perform other tasks. This artificial intelligence (AI) powered chatbot is designed to simulate normal human conversation, which is facilitated by the underlying GPT technology. Instead of only returning pages of simple links and page descriptions punctuated by knowledge boxes like other search engines, the Bing AI chatbot can answer your questions in a more natural and verbose manner.

What Is It?

Bing AI is built on the GPT-4 generative machine learning model, which means that it was provided with a large data set that it’s capable of combing through and synthesizing data into answers. It's also plugged into the Bing search engine, so it's also capable of searching the internet for additional information. Since it's a natural language AI, you can converse with it the same way you would with another person, and it will reply the same way.

For example, instead of searching “dinner party planning,” sifting through search results you could type something like, “Create a three-course meal for a casual dinner party. Avoid dishes with dairy and tree nuts due to guest allergies.”

It’s primarily designed to answer questions and help refine search results, but it can perform a variety of tasks as well. It can help you plan a trip itinerary, assist in researching a big ticket purchase, draft an email, and even tell jokes and create quizzes. So while it’s billed as an improved search engine, it can perform a lot of other tasks as well. It runs on Microsoft’s servers, and you can access it through the Bing search engine and the Edge web browser.

Who Built This?

The Bing AI chatbot was built by Microsoft using GPT-4 technology that was developed by OpenAI. GPT-4 is a generative AI model, which means that it can be trained by providing it with data, which it then synthesizes into answers using natural language. OpenAI, which is a research company funded by Microsoft and others, created the model, and Microsoft trained and adjusted it for use as part of their Bing search engine.

How Does It Impact Me?

If you use the Bing search engine, then your search results are directly impacted by the Bing AI chatbot, as you are likely to see responses from the AI alongside your regular search results. You can still use Bing the way you always have, by typing a search term or phrase, but you can also enter questions using natural language to make use of the chatbot.

For example, searching for “dinner party planning” on Bing returns traditional results. You’ll see related queries, frequently asked questions, and a long list of links to related websites.

If you change the query some and use more natural language, you might type something like, "Create a three-course meal for a casual dinner party. Avoid dishes with dairy and tree nuts due to guest allergies." You'll still see regular search results, but you'll also see an input field where you can send messages to the AI. You can also scroll up on the search results page, or click Chat, to access the chatbot itself for more in-depth answers.

As a Bing user, the primary way this will affect you is the chatbot can be fun to use and interact with, but you need to verify any information that it provides you by checking its sources. If it comes across incorrect information, it may confidently repeat that information to you even though it's wrong. It does provide sources for some of the information it provides though, which makes it easier to fact-check.

If you don’t use the Bing search engine, then the Bing AI chatbot won’t impact you directly.

How Can I Try It?

You can try the Bing AI chatbot by navigating to the Bing search engine, logging into your Microsoft account, and typing your query in natural language instead of just typing a word or phrase. The search engine will still provide you with typical search results, but typing your query in the form of the sort of question that you might ask another person will typically result in the inclusion of an AI chatbot box either at the top of the results or to the right of the results. This box will include an initial answer and a field where you can ask additional questions.

If you’re having trouble getting Bing AI to respond to you, and it’s just giving you standard search results, you can also access the chatbot by clicking the chat link at the top of the search page, or by scrolling up on a search results page. Taking either of these actions will load the Bing AI chatbot interface where you can ask additional questions, adjust the way the chatbot responds to your queries, and switch topics if you want to know about something else.

If you use the Edge web browser, you can also access the Bing chatbot directly through Edge. To access Bing AI using this method, you can open Edge, then click the Bing AI logo in the upper right corner of the browser. Clicking this logo, which looks like a blue letter b in a chat bubble, opens the Bing AI interface directly in your browser.

The Bing AI chatbot is free to use, but it is only available if you're logged into your Microsoft account. If you visit the Bing search engine without logging into your Microsoft account, you don't see the Chat option, and you won't see AI results alongside your search results.

  • What is a chatbot?

    Chatbots use language models and analysis to answer questions and provide data in a natural-language format. The general idea of a chatbot is to simulate speaking to a person and provide accurate and useful responses that the system arrived at by studying huge amounts of information.

  • What is a Twitch chatbot?

    Twitch chatbots are very different from AI chatbots. Instead of answering questions, chatbots on Twitch manage several aspects of chat. One major use is moderation, like checking for bad language, spam, and other infractions and muting or blocking users who violate chat rules. Chatbots can also send automated reminders and do other basic commands like linking to social-media sites.

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