Microsoft has deployed a new version of its Bing chatbot (v96) featuring improvements to make the AI smarter in a couple of key areas – and a big change has been flagged up as imminent, too.

Mikhail Parakhin, who heads up the Advertising and Web Services division at Microsoft, shared this info on Twitter (via MS Power User).

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So, what’s new with v96? Parakhin explains that users of the ChatGPT-powered Bing will now experience a ‘significant’ reduction in the number of times that the AI simply refuses to reply to a query.

There will also be “reduced instances of hallucination in answers” apparently, which is industry lingo meaning that the chatbot will produce fewer mistakes and inaccuracies when responding to users. In short, we should see less misinformation being imparted by the chatbot, and there have been some worrying instances of that occuring recently.

The other major news Parakhin delivers is that the so-called tri-toggle, known more formally as the Bing Chat Mode selector – featuring three settings to switch between different personalities of the AI Bing – is set to go live in the “next couple of days” we’re told.

Analysis: Long and winding road ahead

The ability to switch between a trio of personalities is the big change for the Bing chatbot, and to hear that it’s imminent is exciting stuff for those who have been engaging with the AI thus far.

As detailed previously, the trio of personalities available are labeled as Precise, Balanced, and Creative. The latter is set to provide a chattier experience, and Precise will offer a shorter, more typical ‘search result’ delivery, with Balanced being a middle road between the two. So, if you don’t like how the AI is responding to you, at least there will be choices to alter its behavior.

Various different versions of the Chat Mode selector have been tested, as you would imagine, and the final model has just been picked. This is now undergoing honing before release which should happen later this week as noted, but we’re guessing there’ll be plenty of further fine-tuning to be done post-release.

Certainly if the overall Bing AI experience has been anything to go by, as the whole project is, of course, still in its early stages, and Microsoft is chopping and changing things – sometimes in huge ways – seemingly without much caution.

The current tuning for v96 to ensure Bing doesn’t get confused and simply not reply will help make the AI a more pleasant virtual entity to interact with, and the same will hopefully be true for the ability to switch personalities.

At the very least, the Creative personality should inject some much-needed character back into the chatbot, which is what many folks want – because if the AI behaves pretty much like a search engine, then the project seems a bit dry and frankly in danger of being judged as pointless. After all, the entire drive of this initiative is to make Bing something different rather than just a traditional search experience.

It’s going to be a long road of tweaking for the Bing AI no doubt, and the next step after the personalities go live will likely be to lift that chat limit (which was imposed shortly after launch) to something a bit higher to allow for more prolonged conversations. If not the full-on rambles initially witnessed, the ones that got the chatbot into hot water for the oddities it produced…

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