The Financial Times tests Ask FT, a chatbot trained on decades of its subjects.

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gave Financial Times Ask FT is a new generative AI chatbot that can answer questions from its subscribers. Like typical AI bots (like ChatGPT, Copilot, or Gemini), users can expect a curated natural-language answer to whatever they want to know—but instead of those sources, the outlet’s decades of published information. with responses derived from those that are difficult to define or are subject to ongoing legal action. So don’t expect this to give you the answer to the best fettucini alfredo recipe.

When we asked, “Who drives Microsoft’s AI products?” The tool provided an updated response and reference to what Microsoft broke this week about the hiring of DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleiman as the head of its new AI team:

Mustafa Sulaiman currently runs the division as head of Microsoft’s consumer-facing AI products and Microsoft AI, reporting directly to Satya Nadella. [1,2,3]. He was brought on from Inflection AI to expand Microsoft’s focus on developing generative AI for personal consumer use. [1,2,3,4,6].

Corresponds to the bracketed numbers. FT Articles from which he has obtained information, which he lists below the answer. It also provides the time when these articles were written. In the case of Microsoft’s question, it says it obtained information from March 1, 2023, to March 20, 2024.

However, we found inconsistencies with some responses. At the time of our testing, the tool included Nikki Haley as an answer to our question about who is currently running in the 2024 US presidential election, even though she had already dropped out of the race.

Screenshot by Emma Roth/The Verge

It is available to a few hundred paid subscribers. FT Professional grade, geared toward business professionals and organizations. Ask FT is currently powered by Claude, a large language model (LLM) developed by Anthropic, but this may change. In an interview with the edge, FT The outlet is “delivering it as ‘model agnostic’ and looking at who best meets our needs,” says chief product officer manager Lindsey Jane.

It can provide answers to questions about current events, such as how much funding Intel received from the US government under the CHIPS Act, as well as broader questions, such as the impact of cryptocurrencies on the environment. The tool then collects. FTSummary of relevant information with archives and references.

Ask FT will also answer questions that require digging deep into the FT’s archives. When asked how YouTube started, he answered correctly that it was founded in February 2005 by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Javed Karim.

“We did a whole bunch of testing internally and used that to improve how we instruct the model and how we build the code,” says Jain. “In this first group of 500, we’re tracking every question and answer, as well as user feedback.”

Last year, we tested a similar tool deployed by digital outlets owned by marketing company Foundry, including Macworld, PC WorldAnd Tech Advisor. However, at the time it was not as useful as Ask FT is. My colleague Mia Sato found that it provided incorrect results for simple queries such as when the last iPod Nano was released.

“I don’t think you’re going to be a 135-year-old institution if you’re not constantly developing and meeting these moments,” says Jain. “But you have to be smart and not just ride the hype train … otherwise people just play with it for the novelty and then go on with their lives.”

Most subscribers won’t be able to try the chatbot right now. Ask FT will remain in beta for now, as is FT It continues to be tested and tested.

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