HT Exclusive: Indian-American entrepreneur says, ‘Sam launching ChatGPT is like Steve launching the iPhone’ - Hindustan Times

HT Exclusive: Indian-American entrepreneur says, ‘Sam launching ChatGPT is like Steve launching the iPhone’

Jun 14, 2024 06:58 AM IST spoke to Pritika Mehta, an Indian-American entrepreneur and AI expert who weighs in on the Gemini era vs. GPT-4o.

For the past year, Google appeared to be on the back foot in AI, chasing OpenAI’s ChatGPT, which has been pushing the envelope in chatbots, images and video generation.

Pritika Mehta gives advice on building network and staying resilient in tech capital, San Francisco
Pritika Mehta gives advice on building network and staying resilient in tech capital, San Francisco

Now, Google has launched at least one feature ahead of OpenAI—an update to AI search, “Project Astra”, and heralding its “Gemini era,” which will prioritize AI-generated results on its dominant search engine. Meanwhile, OpenAI had an AI-generated marketing setback with a voice assistant that sounded like Scarlett Johansson’s flirtatious AI character in “Her.”

With “Project Astra”, Sundar Pichai is aiming to shatter Sam Altman's AI castle.

So, the really rousing questions every techno hopeful is posing are: Which AI will power the market in the next generation? Will there be more and more SEO spam? And what opportunity does it hold for the aspiring founder who is churning their dreams so that one day they also can rule the market in the City by the Bay? spoke to Pritika Mehta, an Indian-American entrepreneur, AI expert, and Butternut.AI founder. Mehta weighed in on the OpenAI vs. Google Gemini topic and expressed how “AI-powered search” is becoming mainstream.

ALSO READ| HT Exclusive: Indian-American entrepreneur Pritika Mehta’s vision for aspiring Indian founders harnessing AI


What differences will you mark between OpenAI and Google's generative AI?

“ChatGPT and Gemini are evolving fast. By the time you publish this article, they’d have released newer versions that are neck and neck in performance benchmarking,” Mehta said, and added, “But the game isn’t just about the product. It’s about brand, distribution and capturing people’s attention. Google has the advantage of scale. They own customers via multiple products - Search, Youtube, Maps, Android, Workplace and more. ”

Despite the unlimited cash flow and manpower like what Google has, the Chandigarh native cites Pichai's team's problems: “However, they have the problem that every giant company faces, the typical innovator’s dilemma. They released Bard that failed spectacularly and Google lost $100billion in market cap in a day! I have used Gemini (newer version of Bard) and it’s phenomenal. But will it gain mainstream adoption or fade like Google+ (Google’s social media network)? It’s too early to tell.”

But here's where OpenAI shines, they have always been an underdog, they were the Arya Stark among the Norths. “OpenAI, on the other hand, has all the advantages of a fast growing startup. They have top talent, ample funding, support of Microsoft, visionary team and are being seen as disruptors. ChatGPT is the fastest product ever to get to 100M users,” she said.

But the YC alum warns, “I won’t say Google is totally out of the game here. They need to innovate fast internally and invest in/buy startups (like Microsoft smartly took a big chunk in OpenAI). They’ll have to go on offensive to stay competitive. ”

In a Bloomberg Originals interview, Pichai claimed they could tap and shatter OpenAI's market, so do you see his point?

Mehta nodded and agreed that the “current AI revolution is courtesy the transformer paper published by Google researchers” but “Open AI has to be credited for using transformer models to build ChatGPT, which has opened the AI floodgates.”

“Why did Google fail to launch something as powerful as ChatGPT despite having all the data and resources in the world? You have to understand that as a giant company, it’s tough for Google to move fast. Scale brings its own challenges. That’s why incumbents get disrupted by startups all the time,” the YC alum elaborated.

ALSO READ| Indian-American entrepreneur Pritika Mehta shares tips for immigrant founders in San Francisco

GPT-4o has already rolled out, and they are vouching to change the search industry…

Personally, my usage of Google Search has decreased significantly. If I need to find, say, a recipe for Mediterranean salmon, I would prefer using ChatGPT instead of putting a query on Google and opening various links. I am observing similar trends in the wider Silicon Valley network - people are moving away from Google search,” the Indian-American entrepreneur expressed.

“GPT-4o accesses the internet now, which is a gamechanger. So you can ask it for the latest movie shows near you and instead of showing you links, it serves you the answer straight away. ”

And “Google is definitely threatened in the search turf they perfected and milked for the last two decades,” added, “It took Apple 30+ years to go mainstream. Smartphones took <10 years. AI-powered search might become mainstream even faster.”

With Gpt-4o do you think there will be more and more SEO spam?


“I have a friend who became a top Google reviewer in just 15 days. He ran a script to find top restaurants in New York, scraped Yelp reviews and menus, and fed the data into GPT to generate personalized reviews under 200 words.It took him an afternoon to run the script and automate this. Within 15 days, his ‘useful’ reviews started ranking on top of Google, and they can’t do anything about it!,” the Butternut.AI founder explained.

ALSO READ| Indian entrepreneur shares' cheat sheet' for new immigrant founders in San Francisco: 10 points

‘Sam launching ChatGPT is like Steve launching the iPhone’

The Chandigarh native went on saying, “Sam launching ChatGPT is like Steve launching the iPhone. He has built the highway, but someone will have to build Porsche, Honda, trucking fleets, billboard companies, and restaurants on top of it” and “GPT 4o is incredibly powerful, fast and accurate. Think of it as a superhuman who has the collective intelligence of humanity. It has read more books, scientific papers, website links, and watched more videos than any single human being on earth. Also, with the built-in feedback loops, it’s getting smarter day by day. ”

“In the last YC batch, 70% of AI companies were in the application layer. Why? Because infra is tough, expensive and will eventually become commoditized. Let Sam Altmans and Sundar Pichais of the world play in that league. Founders can build the next Uber, Tinder or Whatsapp because iPhone is launched. Capture value there!”

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