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If generative AI is the future, what should I invest in NOW? Revealed: Where all the white balloons are coming from? Would you believe Amazon and eBay?

If generative AI is the future, what should I invest in now?

That’s the big $64,000 question.

So far, Nvidia and Microsoft are soaring. Fortunately we own them. Check our stocks on the right of the web site.

I’m hanging onto my Google which dominates search today and ,I believe, will do a better job incorporating chatbots and AI into its search engine in the future than Microsoft will do enhancing Bing.

There are two things to read on this — the Economist’s cover story:

For the cover story, click here.  Read also a Seeking Alpha piece that asks “Could ChatGPT actually benefit Google?”    Click here.

Now to the crux:

Microsoft just spent a gargantuan $13 billion on ChatGPT to take Google search business.

I  start with two confessions:

Confession 1:

When I left Australia to come here 56 years ago, my Australian boss said I’d love the Americans because, just like me, they substituted enthusiasm for intelligence. We Americans (now I’m one) get excited very quickly. Very very quickly. Hence, we can be sold anything — so long as there’s enough hype. ChatGPT has more than enough hype. More than these: WeWork. Enron. Worldcom, FTX, Theranos, Carvana, Dogecoin, You get the message.

Confession  2:

I don’t like Microsoft’s products. I use them because I’ve grown up with them. A familiar torture hurts less than an unfamiliar one.

I’ve been testing Microsoft’s Bing. It’s not a finished product — even nowhere as good as Google’s Chrome.

Both Bing and Chrome are  sure to evolve in coming months, and maybe even get better. My preference will be Google Chrome – because of autofil (it’s my default password manager) and syncing and because of three extensions — Email This, Instapaper and Session Buddy — I can’t live without these. Chrome also has one non-feature: It doesn’t keep trying to get me to “Microsoft” my life – force me into using more and more Microsoft products in order to nickel and dime me for escalating monthly fees.

For example, as I tried out the new Bing in the past few days, it sneakily made Bing my “default” browser without asking me for permission. It took me 20 minutes to figure out how to re-make Google Chrome my default browser. It also made Bing my default viewer for PDF files. I prefer PDF-XChange Viewer, which I know how to use. Bing does other sneaky things. Like it doesn’t label its search finds “ad.”

I still use Office 2007, which has features that Office 365 still doesn’t have. But then Office 2007 is a one time charge on eBay, while Office 365 and all its backups and addons will nickel and dime you to death.

Over the years Microsoft “improves” its products. But, sadly,  along the way it drops features I loved. I have scurry around to find ways to do the old things in new (cumbersome) ways.

Microsoft has become so large and so laden with committees that I have personally found little real innovation in recent years – in contrast to  the helter-skelter growth it had when Bill Gates was around. It was smaller and easier to get things done. They even listened to outside folks like me. Remember I ran a string of technology magazines. Their people curried favors and publicity. I once wrote a cover story on Bill. It was magnificent to deal with them. These days I’m too small to exist. They don’t even send me press releases.

In today’s strange new world at Microsoft, you need to spend a gargantuan thirteen billion dollars to find some innovation outside. Which, at your immense size today, you should have found inside your own house years ago.

I will continue to own Microsoft shares not because of ChatGPT but because Microsoft has a nice profitable near monopoly on critical parts of our important and increasingly important IT world. And because I use Windows and I actually prefer Windows machines to Apple’s. Especially Lenovo ThinkPad laptops.

 have been picking up Google stock in recent days as it has tumbled. It’s now showing a P/E of 21. The Economist writes:

Alphabet retains formidable strengths. One is technology. Although Google has yet to integrate generative ai into its search engine, it has deployed other ais in its search business for years. When it highlights a web-page snippet at the top of the search results, that is courtesy of models such as Bert and Mum. All this is “only possible because of the foundational research we’ve done in ai for more than a decade”, says Liz Reid, Google’s head of search. Despite a launch-day gaffe, when it misidentified the first telescope to photograph a planet outside the solar system, Bard is likely to be no less impressive than Chatgpt. The stumble vindicated, in an ironic way, the company’s stated reason for its foot-dragging: a fear about unleashing a chatbot that spewed inaccurate content.

Google’s other advantage is incumbency. It is the default search engine in Chrome, Alphabet’s browser, which is used by two in three people on the internet, according to StatCounter, a research firm. It is also the go-to search on more than 95% of smartphones in America.

The name of the game in search is advertising. “Where can I buy Wilson tennis balls?” (I, of course, know where. But you get the message.)

Google has finehoned the paid advertising search biz down to a tee.

Chatbots (like ChatGPT) are far more airy fairy. They also can’t tell truth from fiction.

Try your own tests — on Chrome and Bing as see how you like them.

Meta Aims to Stay Atop A.I.

From the New York Times. Click here

Like ChatGPT, Galactica also played fast and loose with facts, making up mathematical proofs, misstating historical dates and spinning tall tales. One user coaxed the chatbot into talking about the history of bears in space. When asked who runs Silicon Valley, Galactica replied, “Steve Jobs.”

But unlike OpenAI, the tiny San Francisco lab that made ChatGPT, Meta encountered an avalanche of complaints about Galactica’s mishaps. After just three days, the company, which has faced scrutiny for spreading misinformation and hate speech through its social networking apps, removed Galactica from the internet.

This is a scam. Don’t call the number.

One day this will appear on your laptop’s screen:

Don’t call the number. If you do, they’ll convince you to load their software onto your computer and give them information they shouldn’t have. Like your social security number and your waist size. Mine, sadly is large and growing.

For more on this frightening malware , click here.

Favorite flying objects

I asked Google where I could buy a balloon. I hope someone in Washington reads this blog.

My favorite balloon

We’re having fun.

Finally, an ode to climate change.

Today is Valentines Day

Don’t forget to get ChatGPT to write a Valentines Day poem for your favorite. It’s really good at substituting flattery for truth.

Your poem won’t be Shakespeare. But you’ll win a few brownie points for trying. I hope.

See you tomorrow, or so. Harry Newton